Online Program

Activate a network of skilled volunteers to achieve public health goals: Providing capacity-building trainings to a national audience on a tight budget

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Meg Walker, BA (Economics/Geography), Johns Hopkins Schools of Public Health, Baltimore, MD
Diana Degen, MSPH, Public Health Communications and Policy, The Cadmus Group, Inc., Arlington, VA

Public health organizations and programs are constantly searching for new ways to (a) reach their target stakeholders to change behavior and spur action and (b) ensure their messaging is up-to-date and reflects on-the-ground experience. One way to achieve this goal is to engage a network of skilled professionals who have demonstrated best practices in implementing program guidance.

This presentation will provide evidence from the creation, maintenance and growth of a volunteer Network of award-winning school environmental health champions and technical experts. Network members are actively committed to spreading best practices in indoor environmental management beyond their own school and school districts. With support from a coordinating organization, the Network created a forum for subject matter experts to contribute to and lead nationally-available technical trainings that disseminate up-to-date best practices in indoor environmental management in schools.

The Network provided opportunities to disseminate technical trainings to relevant stakeholders as other members stepped forward to promote the trainings via their networks and communications channels. Additionally, a targeted marketing campaign ensured school health and facilities managers were aware of the on-going availability and value of the training webinars.

The Network’s trainings are on-going and evaluation results will be available in September 2015. However, in the first three months of programming over 300 trainees have attended the trainings. Additionally, initial results suggest trainings empower school health and facilities staff to improve indoor environmental management in their jurisdiction. The approach presented may be used at the state, national and international level. 

Learning Areas:

Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Administration, management, leadership
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Other professions or practice related to public health
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Program planning

Learning Objectives:
Identify situations where establishing a network of volunteer subject matter experts to assist with a public health initiative will be both effective at achieving public health goals and professionally meaningful for volunteers. Explain managerial tools required to establish, empower and sustain a network of skilled volunteers to contribute to and lead capacity-building initiatives. Design a program that ensures volunteers’ time is used efficiently and materials and tools they produce are accessible and valuable to a wide audience to maximize impact.

Keyword(s): Health Promotion and Education, School-Based Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I provide on-going programmatic support to federal agencies, including EPA and HUD, for voluntary programs focused on environmental health in schools, community-building and cross-organizational collaboration. These programs are designed to disseminate best practices for optimizing environmental management and improving health outcomes.
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.