Online Program

Lessons Learned from the Long Beach Language Access Policy Campaign

Tuesday, November 3, 2015 : 11:10 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.

Parichart Sabado, PhD, Center for Health Equity Research, California State University, Long Beach, Long Beach, CA
Laura Hoyt D'Anna, DrPH, Center for Health Equity Research, California State University, Long Beach, Long Beach, CA
Jenny Chheang, MA, The California Endowment, Los Angeles, CA
Christine Petit, PhD, Building Healthy Communities Long Beach, Long Beach, CA
Rene M. Castro, MSW, Building Healthy Communities: Long Beach, Long Beach, CA
Laura Merryfield, Building Healthy Communities Long Beach, Long Beach, CA
Background: Long Beach, California is the most diverse of the 65 largest cities in the U.S. according to a study by USA Today.  Almost 40% of residents who do not speak English at home report speaking English less than “very well.”  This proportion is highest among those who speak an Asian language at home, at 45.6%.  Limited English proficient (LEP) individuals face significant language barriers when navigating city services.

Methods:  In collaboration with Building Healthy Communities Long Beach (BHCLB), a 10-year place-based initiative funded by The California Endowment, the Language Access Coalition met every two weeks to assess the city’s existing language capacity, draft a comprehensive policy, develop fact sheets, and organize city-wide events to highlight the importance of language access in overall health and well-being.

Results:  Long Beach City Council passed the Language Access Policy in August 2013 to provide language access to almost 80,000 native Spanish, Khmer, and Tagalog speakers.  Funding was secured in September 2014 after continued advocacy by the coalition and community residents.

Conclusion:  The Language Access Coalition views language access not as a destination but a movement toward health equity.   Taking time to build a strong foundation for coalition work is critical, especially when negotiating with a large system around the details associated with a complex policy campaign.  The Language Access Coalition does not receive any funding for its work, but have been able to make changes with the relationships that were created by BHCLB.  

Learning Areas:

Advocacy for health and health education

Learning Objectives:
Describe how a strong and representative coalition is critical in advocacy work, particularly when working to pass policies that affect multiple segments of the populations. Discuss the ongoing work needed to ensure timely implementation of a policy and to hold city staff accountable.

Keyword(s): Advocacy, Underserved Populations

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a community organizer and have been a member of the Language Access Coalition since its inception in 2012. I currently help convene the coalition, organize community members, and strategize for further development of the policy. I am fluent in two languages and proficient in a third.
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.