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Need more support to build a successful case for prevention? View our re-vamped Making the Case page for data, talking points, framing and more.

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PRINT | VIEW AS WEB PAGE  |  TELL A FRIEND   February 24th, 2011
The Conversation on Prevention
Health Reform Rapid Response

In the upcoming weeks, we expect the federal budget to continue to be at the forefront of heated public debate. We anticipate that efforts to defund prevention will continue as difficult cuts are made. We must continue to make the case that prevention works. As community prevention stories are highlighted in the media, it is clear that the way those stories are framed can make a huge difference in the public understanding of the value of community prevention.

The stories:
Several papers have highlighted local Communities Putting Prevention to Work (CPPW) initiatives, community prevention efforts funded by federal dollars. This week, we’re taking a look at some of the ways coverage for these stories can be strengthened. Here’s the conversation:

  • New York City’s CPPW projects received lots of attention this week. This Washington Times story presents a concern with government overreach: “Despite glowing reviews from grant recipients, the CPPW grants, $31.1 million of which were awarded to New York, have caused some heartburn in the food industry and among lawmakers who see it as a classic example of government overreach.” The Daily Caller took on the same issue, saying, “Funding state sponsored propaganda about our dietary choices only serves to promote the progressive agenda.”
  • The CPPW initiative in NYC also supports policies that reduce tobacco use and exposure. This Wall Street Journal piece, “Has NYC gone too far by banning smoking in parks?” frames community prevention as government overstepping its role.
  • San Antonio was awarded $15.6 million in CPPW funding to support increased access to healthy foods and increased opportunities for physical activity. A local paper highlights multiple community prevention activities associated with the grant, including new salad bars in schools, workout equipment in parks and libraries, and efforts to ensure access to fresh foods. The story explains the relationship between these activities and chronic disease prevention, and also helps local residents understand how prevention is strengthening their community.

Tips to guide your conversation:

In order to best elevate community prevention successes, framing is key. Here's how you can counter some of the framing being used in your letters to the editor, op-eds, and conversations with the media:
  • Understand the frame.  A desire for local control and decision making is being reflected in our national conversation—people worry about someone making decisions for them, or taking away their ability to make decisions.
  • Keep it local. Emphasize that community prevention is local through your talking points: Community prevention is about helping neighborhoods to work together with local businesses, community groups and local health departments to figure out the best ways to build health where they live—whether that's putting more fruits and vegetables on a child's school lunch plate, or making the local park safer so a mom doesn't have to put her kid in front of the tv. The essence of community prevention is about building health and supporting decision making in the ways that communities think will work best right where they live.

  • Include data to support your case when you can. Data to include: Partnerships that have been strengthened or created, most particularly non-traditional and community-based partnerships, i.e. local business, local churches, parent groups, insurance orgs, gyms, childcare, farmers etc. Data that emphasizes ‘local' nature of efforts: decision making processes, local leadership; community, parents, youth, elderly, high-need population involvement.

  • Here's what you can do:
    • Make sure we have your zip code. We want to be able to mobilize people right where you live. Update your information here.
    • Write a blog, op-ed or letter to the editor of your local paper.
    • Have a successful example of community prevention in action? Please share it with us so we can include it in our talking points.
    • Visit our Health Reform Advocacy page for more information.