This week, we heard an all too familiar refrain about an "authoritarian health state" -- but we know that government has a role and responsibility to protect and promote the health and safety of the population. Government is acting to promote prevention with broad support, partnerships, and demonstrated impact. Just this week, the American Public Health Association released a new report that demonstrates the huge impact and reach of modest federal investment in prevention and public health: "This small but critical component of the Affordable Care Act is already working in communities across the country," writes APHA's Georges Benjamin. "It is through these lifesaving funding measures that we can help build a sustainable public health system and begin to fundamentally transform the nation's health system."
We know healthy people live in healthy, safe and equitable communities, and federal investments in community prevention efforts like the Prevention and Public Health Fund and Communities Putting Prevention to Work and ensure that our environments support health--in the first place. With he Supreme Court set to issue a ruling on the Affordable Care Act, now more than ever, we need to mobilize and collectively broadcast local community prevention successes of federal prevention programs.
What success looks like
In order to best elevate community prevention successes, framing is key. Prevention Institute has developed an entire range of communications tools and resources to help you frame your community prevention successes, including a sample op-ed. To help bolster your framing, this week we're also providing on-the-ground community examples that reflect on the huge dividends federal prevention programs have paid in just the past few years:
- Over 55 million Americans live in healthier communities thanks to Communities Putting Prevention to Work.
- Two farmers markets in Minneapolis, Minnesota, now accept EBT cards (also known as ‘food stamps') and provide Market Buckets to low-income customers. The pilot season was a huge success, with over $13,9000 in EBT sales.
- In Bartholomew County, Indiana, the Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce created Reach Healthy Business to support and recognize healthy worksites in their community. Chamber of Commerce president Jack Hess says, "The bottom line is this: a healthy community is one in which companies want to locate, businesses want to grow and expand, and the best workforce in the world wants to live."
To find more local successes, visit Communities Taking Action, our updated and improved online database capturing over 100 prevention and equity efforts underway in communities across the country.
Tips to guide your conversation
- Community prevention is local. Our communities know what's wrong, and when we work together, we can make it right. The good news is we can fix many of the health problems we face, and prevent these same problems from starting, in the first place. When we work together-our public health department, cities, schools, businesses, and community-based organizations-we can overcome even the most tenacious problems. We have skilled, creative and dedicated people who can make our region the best it can be.
- Government has a role in public health. From child safety seats to taking the lead out of paint, our government has a long, proud history of protecting the health of our children, families and communities. We want children and parents to be able to take for granted that the places they live, work, play, and learn are going to support them in healthy eating, tobacco-free environments and physical activity-not make it harder.
- The American people want prevention. 73% of the public support resources that go to community prevention initiatives. Even when community prevention efforts are tied to higher taxes, the majority of the public still favors them. Their support is even stronger for the kinds of efforts federal legislation is focused on right now: bringing more fresh fruits and vegetables into our stores, providing healthier lunches for kids, and protecting our communities and children from tobacco. These strategies protect the health of children and families.
What you can do
- Visit our Health Reform Advocacy page to stay updated on the latest developments on prevention and health reform.
- Browse our communications tools and resources, designed to help you frame community prevention to both legislators and the general public, including sample messages and talking points supporting federal investments in community prevention.
Stay connected. Sign up for our Health Reform Rapid Response: the conversation on prevention. Become a community prevention media advocate with letter-to-the-editor, op-ed and advocacy opportunities delivered directly to your inbox.