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Prevention Institute

Health Reform Rapid Response: November 15, 2013

Making the Case to Local Elected Officials Strengthens Community Prevention Efforts

Tuning into the news lately, you might think that the Affordable Care Act is all about health insurance exchanges. The conversation in Washington and in the media is still stuck on website glitches, but we know there are many more crucial health reform stories to tell.

Access to affordable health care is one important component of the Affordable Care Act, but the law also invests in on-the-ground efforts across the country to change community conditions and build health, in the first place. These funds empower communities to ensure that all residents have access to healthy, affordable food, smoke-free air, and safe spaces to be physically active. Investments like the Prevention and Public Health Fund recognize that everyone has a role to play in improving public health—and, in some communities, that includes local elected officials. 

Earlier this week, Prevention Institute and the American Public Health Association released a new resource, Championing Change: Elected Officials Act Locally to Make their Communities Healthier. The brief examines the prevention approaches local elected officials are taking to improve the health of their communities. Through interviews and case studies, it shares tips and lessons from across the country, providing a resource to help local elected officials and their staff members improve health in their hometowns.

This week, we’re asking you to check out our new resource and help us spread the word on how local elected officials are helping to champion prevention efforts in your community. The brief is designed to help local elected officials bring prevention efforts into their work, but you can use it to guide your outreach efforts to local elected officials, too. If you’ve got plans to contact your local elected officials and make the case for prevention, we hope you’ll check it out. And, like all of our resources and publications, it’s available for free on our website—so you can print it out to share with your local elected officials directly.

Please help us share on Facebook and Twitter. See sample tweets on our new resource, below—or tell us about the prevention efforts in your community, and how local elected officials are helping out. Don’t forget to tweet us at @preventioninst, or share with us on our Facebook page. We’ll retweet and repost your success stories to share with our followers, too.

  • New from @preventioninst: “Championing Change: Elected Officials Act Locally to Make their Communities Healthier” http://bit.ly/HS2sDe
  • How can you #MakeTheCase for #Prevention to local elected officials? See @preventioninst new resource: http://bit.ly/HS2sDe
  • Want to improve community health thru #prevention? #MakeTheCase to local elected officials! New from @preventioninst http://bit.ly/HS2sDe
  • Help local electeds think healthfully, act locally to make the case for #prevention. New from @preventioninst: http://bit.ly/HS2sDe

New Study: Environments Matter

Yet another report confirms what we in the prevention community already know: when it comes to health, environments matter. This recent study in the Journal of Public Health highlights the connection between sidewalk improvements and physical activity. Of course, sidewalks are just one factor in making our communities more walkable. See Prevention Institute’s new brief, Walk On: Strategies to Promote Walkable Communities for more.

Local spotlight: Northwest MI

Prevention works – and not just in cities and large towns. Check out this article on how ‘placemaking’ efforts to build walking trails in rural Michigan are not only improving sustainability and opportunities for physical activity, but are boosting the local economy and the community's social connections, too. 

More Tips to Make the Case

Be sure to explore our toolkit for guidance on how to make the case for prevention using media advocacy—another key way to educate local elected officials on community prevention.

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