238582 Reach the Decision Makers: A program to translate science into public policy that can protect reproductive health

Wednesday, November 2, 2011: 12:50 PM

Marj Plumb, DrPH , Plumbline Coaching and Consulting, Inc., Berkeley, CA
Patrice Sutton, MPH , Program on Reproductive Health and the Environment, University of California, San Francisco, Oakland, CA
Annemarie Charlesworth, MA , National Center of Excellence in Women's Health, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA
Tracey J. Woodruff, PhD, MPH , Program on Reproductive Health and the Environment, University of California, San Francisco, Oakland, CA
Claire Brindis, DrPH , Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA
Problem statement: Mounting scientific evidence documents that the environment is an important driver of human reproductive health. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) is the key federal agency with regulatory authority to act on the science to prevent harm. However, for a variety of reasons, public policy makers have only limited engagement with diverse sectors of constituents. To change this dynamic, we undertook an innovative science and policy-training program, Reach the Decision Makers (Reach), to enhance the capacity of scientists, community-based leaders, public health and health care professionals to promote science-based health standards and policy in the USEPA and beyond. Methods: Reach is based upon a participatory model of “Experiential Learning." Participants develop the tools and skills to effectively engage key offices and staff members within the USEPA through a year-long program that utilizes: (1) in-person and webinar-based seminars; (2) mentored team-learning groups; and (3) a team policy project. Results: In year 1 of the program we: (1) recruited and trained a multi-disciplinary cohort of 26 California-based fellows who undertook 5 team-based policy projects that address: environmental justice goals; testing of endocrine disrupting chemicals; monitoring of air-pollution; incorporating preconception and pre-natal environmental exposures into risk-assessment; and diesel emissions; (2) conducted a systematic and comprehensive evaluation of the impact of the program on the fellows competence and confidence in engaging USEPA on policy issues and all other aspects of the program; and (3) recruited and initiated training of a second cohort of 25 fellows from across the U.S. for year 2 of the program. Results to date of all these aspects of the program will be presented. Conclusions: Reach can contribute to immediate and lasting changes to participants ability to interact with the environmental health policy process which should lead to improved environmental health policy.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Environmental health sciences
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe a key opportunity to strengthen pubic participation in environmental health policy setting. 2. Analyze components of an experiential learning model. 3. Evaluate the degree to which a training program in science and public policy can contribute to improvements in environmental health policy setting.

Keywords: Public Policy, Reproductive Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the Co-Director of the Reach the Decision Makers Program
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.