237922 NEW ENGLAND PRIMARY PREVENTION TRENDS REPORT -- Using Data To Mobilize Political Will

Monday, October 31, 2011: 12:30 PM

Steven E. Miller, MPA , Healthy Weight Initiative, Department of Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health, Cambridge, MA
Background: Successful public health campaigns require a knowledge base, effective social strategies, and the mobilization of political will. The “New England Primary Prevention & Health Promotion Trend Indicators” report was an effort to accomplish the first two in the process of creating the third. The hypothesis was that properly presented data, useful to professionals, about the degree to which a state has created a health-supporting environment could also be used to raise public awareness and thereby political leaders' support for action to improve the determinants of population health.

Methods: This presentation will describe the participatory regional process of selecting the indicators, the effort to include an unusually broad range of data through engagement of non-traditional research partners, and the evolution of our understanding about the most effective leveraging methods for generating political will.

This project was conducted for the New England Governors Conference by NECON (New England Coalition for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention) in partnership with the Harvard School of Public Health's Nutrition Department, and with health professionals in the six states.

Results: The data-collection partnerships had mixed success, but alternative data sources were found that focused attention on a broad range of potential policy actions. Our understanding of the most useful kinds of data has evolved from Overweight to Prevention to Population Health Literacy.

Conclusion: Changing the public discussion and decision-maker's focus requires publicizing a wider range of data than is typically provided by the most commonly used national health indicator reports.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Public health or related education
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe the way that data needs to be presented in order to have maximum impact on the policy-making process. 2. Compare two or methods, both utilized by the Trends Project, to involve non-traditional organizational partners in the data-collection process. 3. Explain what is meant by strategic concepts such as “strengthening resilience rather than reducing risk” and “Population Health Literacy in a Primary Prevention Context.”

Keywords: Policy/Policy Development, Public Health Advocacy

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because as head of the Healthy Weight Initiative at the Department of Nutrition of the Harvard School of Public Health, and the Program Director of NECON. I was the lead person in the entire Trend Indicator Report process from inception to current evolution. I have also spent over 40 years as a policy advocate at state and local levels.
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.