Magazine article The Nation's Health

APHA PHACT Campaign Brings Public Health Advocacy Home

Magazine article The Nation's Health

APHA PHACT Campaign Brings Public Health Advocacy Home

Article excerpt

SUMMER IS OFTEN quiet on Capitol Hill, when legislators go back to their home districts during the congressional break. But that means lawmakers are more accessible to their constituents--and possibly more open to longer discussions about public health.

Summer is the time to meet with members of Congress, and APHA is once again launching its Public Health Action campaign to help advocates reach their members of Congress. Starting during the July 4 recess and carrying through August, the PHACT campaign provides resources and tools to help public health advocates reach their elected officials in order to advance public health on the national stage.

PHACT tools include fact sheets on APHA's priority issues, including public health funding, the Prevention and Public Health Fund, climate change and child nutrition. They also include infographics and tip sheets for advocating on public health issues.

Nicole Burda, MPH, APHA's deputy director of government relations, said that public health advocates can make a big impact with their members of Congress in different ways. Advocates can get face time with their members of Congress or their staff by meeting with them in their local offices, attending a public forum or inviting them to visit the public health programs that they manage.

"This shows that the program is not just another line item in the budget; this is a program that helps real people and that the community depends on," Burda told The Nation's Health.

Other ways to interact with elected officials include phone calls, emails and media opportunities. The PHACT campaign has tools to help advocates with everything from how to contact members of Congress to templates for opinion and editorial columns. Applauding elected officials for their leadership in public health or calling on them to put public health ahead of other interests can help shape the national debate and decisions that will impact public health, Burda said. …

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