Online Program

Utilizing person on the street surveys to drive public policy change and local advocacy

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Geri Guardino, MPA, Division of Community, Family Health and Equity, Rhode Island Department of Health, Providence, RI
Erica Collins, MS, Tobacco Control Program, Rhode Island Department of Health, Providence, RI
A CDC best practice in Tobacco Control is to mobilize communities on tobacco control issues. Such mobilization can be challenging in communities where residents feel they have accomplished a great deal in tobacco control and are experiencing a sense of “tobacco advocacy fatigue”. Given this reality, tobacco control programs need tools to effectively mobilize community members. What's more, with shrinking public health dollars, local-level data must be collected in a cost-effective manner.

In 2012, community-based Rhode Island tobacco control advocates collected public opinion data from 919 residents via 60-second intercept interviews to gauge community support for an expanded outdoor smoke-free public places policy including beaches, parks, playgrounds, dining areas and events. The survey showed that out of 916 respondents, 89% liked or loved the idea of 100% smoke-free parks, 92% liked or loved the idea of 100% smoke-free playgrounds, and 91% percent liked or loved the idea of smoke-free sports and recreation areas. In one community, data from the survey demonstrated that 74% of respondents liked or loved the idea of a smoke-free Autumnfest fall festival. Advocates used the data to inform festival organizers who eventually adopted a smoke-free festival policy.

The person-on-the-street survey proved to be a public health advocacy and mobilization tool that was easy to use, responsive to smart phone technology, flexible, inexpensive, and localized. Survey data provided information that was used by community-based advocates to support policy change. Community data collectors were energized by this process and new grassroots supporters were identified in the process

Learning Areas:

Advocacy for health and health education

Learning Objectives:
Describe Power Prism framework for policy campaign planning, execution, refinement and evaluation. Analyze use of a survey tool as political resource to engage a community to support local policy change. Design survey instrument to meet administrative capacity and data credibility requirements

Keyword(s): Survey, Advocacy

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Not Answered