244507 Kauai mayor's walking work bus: A model for building political will

Monday, October 31, 2011: 1:30 PM

Bev Brody , John Burns School of Medicine, University of Hawaii, Kilauea, HI
Jodi Drisko, MSPH , President, Parametrix Group, LLC, Kilauea, HI
Each week in the summer, the Mayor of Kauai leads a walk over the lunch hour for county employees and others to join him in getting some exercise and to “talk story”. He also requested his department directors to join the group and lead by example. The walking work bus was originally devised for the Mayor to get more exercise and to be able to talk with area residents. Regular participants on the walking work bus include members of the nutrition and physical activity coalition, health department staff, local businesses, county staff and area residents. As part of this activity, walkers were also asked to complete walkability assessments of the walking route. Through the walking work bus, three main outcomes have occurred: 1) relationships have been developed between coalition members and key county staff in an informal, non-threatening way 2) county staff have an increased awareness and deeper understanding of problem areas in the built environment such as weeds growing in sidewalks, lack of wheelchair accessibility and dangerous crosswalks and 3) political will was gained in an area of coalition interest, improving the built environment. By participating in this informal activity, coalition members have been able to build effective political alliances with county departments to help further the agenda of improving the built environment and develop policy around complete streets and safe routes to school. By getting to know each other as people, not asking for favors, the political will that has been gained has been an unexpected outcome.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe how to build effective political relationships in an informal, non-threatening way. 2. dentify the steps to design a walking work bus strategy.

Keywords: Advocacy, Policy/Policy Development

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I oversee obesity prevention programs for the County of Kauai and work with multiple community stakeholders.
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.