247865 Faith Communities Partner with Public Health Nurses in Public Health Advocacy

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Peggy (Margaret) Hickman, MSN, EdD, MDiv , University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY
Background and Issue: Public health has a history of using faith communities as a venue for distributing health messages, supporting public health programs, and serving as sites for public health research and education. Addressing inequities in human wellbeing is a theological tenet of many faith communities. Recognizing the faith community as an equal partner in promoting "healthy public policy" would strengthen the public health sector's advocacy role. Description: This presentation includes an analysis of health advocacy activities of one state's Council of Churches (Council) related to the Patient Rights and Affordable Care Act (ACA). Pre-passage, Council leadership initiated partnerships whereby accurate information about ACA was disseminated to congregations statewide with the intent of expanding advocacy for policies that increase access to affordable health care and health promotion resources. Post-passage, accurate information about policy implementation and related health resources was disseminated. New health policy development, advocacy, and implementation partnerships were developed between clergy, Council leaders, faith community nurses, public health nurses, and other health advocates. Lessons Learned: The language of social justice is common to public health nurses and clerical leaders. Advocacy for policies to improve the health of underserved populations expands when the faith community becomes a policy development partner. Recommendations: Public health nurses should consider partnering with faith communities at state and local levels in public health advocacy efforts. Local health departments should recognize clergy, parish nurses, and faith communities as potential partners in developing health policy advocacy and initiating efforts to improve human well-being.

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

Learning Objectives:
1. Identify two ways that PHN/public health partnerships with faith communities can strengthen advocacy for "healthy public policy." 2. Discuss three potential roles of PHNs in developing public health-faith community partnerships for promotion of the health of underserved populations.

Keywords: Faith Community, Advocacy

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have 45 years of experience as a PHN/PHN educator including policy development & public health advocacy roles. I am also a clergyperson involved in faith communities' health advocacy.
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.