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Investing in Prevention Saves Lives and Money!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012   (0 Comments)
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  Advocating For Public Health Where It Counts

The Directors of Health Promotion and Education (DHPE) along with other partner organizations and organizational members of the Coalition of National Health Education Organizations (CNHEO) descended enthusiastically upon Capitol Hill for the 15th Annual Health Education Advocacy (HEA) Summit in Washington, DC on March 3-5, 2012.

The CNHEO sponsors the annual Summit. The CNHEO is a non-profit 501© (3) federation of eight national organizations, with a primary mission to mobilize and expand the reach and resources of the Health Education Profession in all settings.

The 2012 HEA Summit was sponsored by: the American College Health Association, American Association for Health Education, American Public Health Association (Public Health Education and Health Promotion Section), Directors of Health Promotion andEducation, Society for Public Health Education, Eta Sigma Gamma, Association of Accredited Public Health Programs, Association for Prevention Teaching and Research, and the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors.

The Summit provides both first-time and veteran advocates opportunities to obtain primary, intermediate and advanced advocacy skills and intensive training on core advocacy issues. A key focus area was learning how to better develop and deliver effective messaging. There were over 220 participants including public health organizational leaders, faculty, practitioners, and students.

Lavell Thornton (SC), DHPE Advocacy Committee Chair and Debi Nelson (NC), DHPE Advocacy Committee member represented DHPE as well as DHPE staff Doreleena Posey, Policy Training Director, and Aryka Chapman, School Health Manager. DHPE Board Member Karen D. Goldman (NY) was also in attendance with New York public health graduate students. Lavell also serves as a member of the Summit Planning Committee. Doreleena represented DHPE at the CNHEO Leaders' Meeting, which focused on opportunities for third-party reimbursement for Health Education.

Lavell and Aryka presented a break out session to over 40 attendees titled: Advocacy 201: After Your Visit, Will They Remember You? Using school health successes for examples, the session provided an overview of strategies to maximize the impact of advocacy efforts. HEA Summit presentations included topics such as Incorporating Advocacy in Professional Preparation, Effective Use of Social Media, and Challenges and Opportunities in the 112th Congress.

The Summit culminated with an estimated 110 congressional visits with key Senate and House Committee members, state legislators, and /or their legislative staff. The purpose of the visits was to gain support and commitment for the following CNHEO priority 2013 appropriations and legislative issues:

  • Elementary and Secondary Education Act (Reauthorization of No Child Left Behind)
  • CDC Preventive and Health Services Block Grant (Maintain funding flexibility to the states/territories)
  • Affordable Care Act-Prevention and Public Health Fund (Maintain funding for prevention and health promotion)
  • CDC Community Transformation Grants (Fund at recommended levels to empower communities and reduce chronic diseases and racial/ethnic health disparities)

The Summit provides a rare opportunity for partner organizations to come together and collectively advocate for important public health legislation and appropriations. Policy makers heard through use of state and local economic data and personal stories about devastating impacts of funding cuts to our nation's health. All priority appropriation issues identified above are also advocacy issues for DHPE as well.

The annual Summit is coordinated and hosted by the Society for Public Health Education (SOPHE). For more information about the CNHEO Health Education Advocate Awards, legislative fact sheets, and the Summit proceedings/resources, go to the following websites: or

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