Online Program

Physicians as community health advocates - bridging the gap between clinical practice and the community

Wednesday, November 6, 2013 : 11:30 a.m. - 11:50 a.m.

Janet Williams, MA, Improving Health Outcomes, American Medical Association, Chicago, IL
Chronic diseases are the most common and costly of all health problems. Tobacco and alcohol use, poor nutrition and limited physical activity, are responsible for the majority of the illness, disability, and premature death related to chronic diseases. Nearly 1 in 2 adults live with at least one chronic illness putting a tremendous strain on the public health system and on physicians who are expected to prevent as well as treat diseases. Addressing the prevention and treatment of chronic diseases requires a comprehensive approach and collaboration between all aspects of the health care system. This approach includes public education and screenings, policy initiatives and clinical interventions. The AMA developed its Physicians as Community Health Advocates (PACHA) initiative as part of its commitment to improving health outcomes and to help physicians help their patients through community engagement. Physicians have a role to play in addressing the barriers their patients face when trying to make healthier lifestyle choices. PACHA uses the train-the-train model to train physicians serve as community health leaders. These leaders develop skills and identify opportunities in their communities to assist public health advocates in implementing legislative, system and regulatory policies to improve health behaviors. This session takes participants through the development of PACHA and the feedback from two training sessions. It outlines the steps needed to provide for better connectivity between health education and policy. This information will help public health professionals understand how to partner with physicians on policy activities and on how to connect physicians with resources in the public health system.

Learning Areas:

Advocacy for health and health education
Chronic disease management and prevention
Clinical medicine applied in public health
Other professions or practice related to public health
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
Describe the AMA's Physicians as Community Health Advocates (PACHA) Initiative. List the benefits of engaging physicians in advocating for policies that improve health behaviors associated with obesity, tobacco and alcohol use. Identify opportunities to engage physicians in public health advocacy and practices to improve health outcomes and prevent chronic diseases.

Keyword(s): Community-Based Partnership, Advocacy

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have more than 30 years public health policy, and community and clinical engagement experience. I directed an EPA funded initiative addressing tobacco in clinical practices serving low income families and trained medical students to provide tobacco counseling in free clinics. Prior to joining the AMA, I was director of tobacco prevention for the Cook County Department of Public Health and deputy executive director of public affairs for the American Lung Association of Metropolitan Chicago.
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.