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During a pub-650: public health advocacy and policy course, students examine the intricacies of public health policy development and examine the role of federal, state, and local government in the provision of public health programs and services through health policy and law. Additionally, students learn advocacy strategies for mobilizing communities, coalitions, and organizations to support and implement policy. Through careful analysis of public health policy and consideration of the implications of health in all policy approaches, students, learn how local, national, global, social, and economic policies have broad implications for human health. Additionally, students also have the opportunity to learn how to structure and write a health policy analysis, including the economic and budgetary impacts of policy options.
What are public health and advocacy?
Public health is the science and systems that create community, statewide and nationwide conditions that promote health, prevent disease and encourage healthy behaviors across the entire population.
On the other hand, advocacy involves promoting the interests or cause of someone or a group of people. An advocate is a person who argues for, recommends, or supports a cause or policy. Therefore, public health advocacy refers to educating, organizing, and mobilizing for systems change in population health.
Advocacy is a process of supporting and enabling people to:
- Express their views, thoughts, and concerns.
- Access information, advice, and guidance.
- Explore choices and options for services and care.
Benefits of advocacy.
Advocacy has several benefits in society. The following are some of the benefits of advocacy:
- It ensures that the voice of people is heard on issues that are crucial to them.
- Advocacy also protects and promotes the rights of people in a society or organization.
- It ensures that the views and wishes of people are genuinely considered when decisions are being made about their lives.
The public health advocacy process first involves identifying the current and future threats to the health of the community. Afterward, public health advocates inform, create, and influence legislation and change the environment in order to create circumstances in which optimal health is possible.
Public health advocacy happens through media, legislative, and grassroots efforts. Though individual health advocacy for patients and clients can be practiced, it should be stressed that public health advocacy, like the core discipline of public health, is undertaken to enhance the health of communities through improved health policies and programs.
Types of advocacy.
Self-advocacy refers to an individual’s ability to effectively communicate, convey, negotiate or assert his or her own interests, desires, needs, and rights. (VanReusen et al., 1994).
It also means understanding your strengths and needs, identifying your personal goals, knowing your legal rights and responsibilities, and communicating these to others. In short, self-advocacy is speaking up for oneself.
2. Individual Advocacy
Individual advocacy involves a person or group of people who concentrate their efforts on just one or two individuals.
Forms of individual advocacy.
There are two common forms of individual advocacy namely: informal and formal advocacy.
· Informal advocacy.
Informal advocacy is when people like parents, friends, family members or agencies speak out and advocate for vulnerable people.
· Formal advocacy
Formal advocacy involves organizations that pay their staff to advocate for someone or for a group of individuals.
3. Systems Advocacy
Systems advocacy is about changing policies, laws, or rules that impact how someone lives their life. It involves efforts that can be targeted at a local, state or national agency. Thus, the focus can be changing laws, or simply written or unwritten policy.