249005 Coalitions and community partners shaping a healthier Alexandria

Monday, October 31, 2011

Carrie E. Fesperman Redden, MPH, MRP , Partnership for a Healthier Alexandria, Alexandria Health Department, Alexandria, VA
Allen Lomax, MPA , Partnership for a Healthier Alexandria, Alexandria, VA
The Partnership for a Healthier Alexandria is a citizen-led health coalition that involves the health department, non-profit organizations, schools, city agencies, local businesses, government and community leaders, and residents joined together to promote and preserve a healthier community. It was founded in the belief that in order to address priority health areas, we must come together as a community -- bringing a unique blend of talents, experience, perspectives and passion to identify action-oriented, evidence-based solutions.

The Partnership was founded in 2006 to address major health priorities that emerged from the City of Alexandria's first Community Health Assessment (CHA). This assessment was a collaborative project conducted by the Alexandria Health Department, in coordination with the city's health policy commission and other community partners.

Now, five years later, the Partnership has over 200 partner organization and individual members. We work in four core areas: mental health anti-stigma, substance abuse prevention among teens, obesity prevention, and respiratory health. The Partnership's work groups are increasingly moving towards policy and systems change strategies. Recent policy change achievements include a healthy food resolution, inclusion of health in the city's strategic plan, a breastfeeding ordinance amendment and resolution, and a change in the state's social host law.

This presentation will describe the role of community partners and volunteers in moving forward community health policy and initiatives. It will also highlight the key role that coalitions play in decision-making at the local and state government and provide lessons learned in coalition building and policy development.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Program planning
Public health or related organizational policy, standards, or other guidelines
Public health or related public policy
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Describe effective ways for community coalitions to develop partnerships and positively influence health policy change.

Keywords: Advocacy, Coalition

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the Chair of the Partnership for a Healthier Alexandria.
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.