212189 From classroom to community: A case study on advocacy and organizing

Monday, November 9, 2009

Siphannay Nhean, MPH , Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, MA
Jaime Elizabeth Lederer, MSW , School of Social Work, Boston University, Boston, MA
Melanie Pennison, MPH , Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, MA
Maegan Siobhan Berliner , Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, MA
Media advocacy is a vital component in advancing the public health agenda and bringing attention to matters that directly impact the health and safety of the public. In this case study, Boston University School of Public Health students advocated for pedestrian safety at the new location of their school, one of Boston's busiest intersections. After more than seven members of the BU community had been hit, students decided to take the advocacy and organizing skills learned in the classroom and apply them in the community.

Using a stakeholder analysis, this campaign focused on changing traffic lighting patterns to promote and improve pedestrian safety. The use of advocacy tools such as press releases, framing, messaging and letter writing were employed to bring this public health concern to the attention of key university administrators and city officials.

Students organized a public rally at the intersection to attract media, school officials, and the Boston Transportation Department. The story was covered in three newspapers, local television stations and the university's online daily news. Using media as leverage, the students were successfully able to bring this public health issue to the attention of the Boston University administration and the Boston Transportation Department. As a result of the demonstration, University and city officials have agreed to work together to make changes to the dangerous intersection. This issue is now a priority for all stakeholders.

This case study demonstrates that media advocacy skills can be used successfully to advance public health agendas for communities.

Learning Objectives:
1.) Demonstrate how media advocacy can advance a public health agenda. 2.) Discuss the importance of advocacy skills in public health.

Keywords: Media Advocacy, Community-Based Health Promotion

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: As one of the student organizers mentioned in this case study, I am qualified to be an abstract author.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.