243133 Improving public health programs and practices through relationships with policymakers: The benefits of consumer and family advocacy

Monday, October 31, 2011: 1:10 PM

Ian Weston, MPP , Emergency Medical Services for Children National Resource Center, Children's National Medical Center, Silver Spring, MD
Karen Belli , Emergency Medical Services for Children National Resource Center, Children's National Medical Center, Silver Spring, MD
One of the greatest benefits of advocacy is the opportunity to build professional relationships with public policymakers. Public health professionals often partner with other interested parties to help them make connections with lawmakers. Advocating with consumers and family representatives in particular provides a more complete picture of an issue and a more accurate representation of the number and types of individuals with a stake in the matter. The more informed and well rounded your argument, the more likely you are to develop a lasting relationship with a lawmaker and draw attention to a cause. With this in mind, the federal Emergency Medical Services for Children (EMSC) Program developed the Family Advisory Network (FAN). FAN representatives, many of whom have a child who required the use of the emergency medical services (EMS) system, help EMSC grantees advocate for improved pediatric emergency care. Their experience with EMS has inspired them to educate policymakers about the importance of EMSC-related issues, such as ensuring that ambulances stockpile appropriate pediatric equipment and promoting the prevention and appropriate care of sports-related injuries. Their advocacy brings a personal perspective to these issues, and their efforts have led to legislative or regulatory changes, additional funding for statewide EMS or trauma systems, or simply the attention of key stakeholders. Using the FAN example, this session will highlight the importance of a consumer or family perspective in building relationships with policymakers, successful ways to identify family and consumer advocates, and provide tips and tools for successful family or consumer advocacy.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education

Learning Objectives:
1. Discuss the importance of building professional relationships with policymakers. 2. Discuss the importance of a consumer or family perspective in promoting public health programs and practices with policymakers. 3. Identify successful ways to recruit consumer or family advocates. 4. Describe tips and tools for consumers or families for successful public health advocacy and policymaker relationship building.

Keywords: Advocacy, Family/Consumer Perspective

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the Senior Public Policy and Partnerships Specialist at the EMSC National Resource Center, where I educate EMSC grantees, family representatives, and other stakeholders on the public policy process. Prior to joining the NRC, I was employed as the Policy Coordinator for Columbia University’s Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and promoted the idea of preventive youth mental health screenings among policymakers. I previously was the health care Legislative Assistant for U.S. Representatives Earl Pomeroy and Ron Kind.
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.