Health Reform Rapid Response: the conversation on prevention
As the Prevention and Public Health Fund continues to face opposition, advocates from across the country have stepped up to leverage media as a prime tool for putting a face to the funding. By broadcasting their communities’ successes and standing up for the Fund, these advocates are helping our legislators understand what we already know: community prevention works. We hope these examples can serve as inspiration for you to pen your own opinion piece highlighting the success of prevention where you live.
What Success Looks Like
- In an interview with Health Policy Forum, “The Politics of Prevention,” Dr. Howard Koh shifts the frame from personal responsibility to collective responsibility and the role of government in public health: “It has been said that the government is the only part of society that has to care for all people all the time.”
- In a letter to the editor placed in The Topeka-Capital Journal, “Public health funding lacking,” Elaine Schwarts of the Kansas Public Health Association speaks out against the proposed cuts to the Fund: “Reallocating the fund will inhibit millions of Americans and many Kansans from living full, healthy lives…The Prevention Fund is not a grab bag for nonhealth-related initiatives. For health reform to have a maximum impact, the fund and other important prevention provisions must be protected.”
- In a Detroit Free Press editorial, “Eat healthier, and there are ways government can help,” the Editorial Board addresses the “nanny state” argument directly: “No one wants to create a nanny state that tells people what they can eat or how many calories to consume. Still, obesity is a public health problem that public policy should try to alleviate. Government should at least try to level the playing field with policies that encourage people to eat healthier.”
- In Marshfield News Herald, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of…gold,” Susan Kunferman of the Wood County Health Department speaks up for her community: “If we don't invest in prevention efforts to turn this trend around, today's children are likely to be the first generation to have a shorter lifespan than their parents. That is not acceptable. Not in America, not in Wisconsin, and not in Wood County.”
Tips to Guide your Conversation
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. These are the messages that we need to promote in the media, with accompanying talking points:
- Prevention saves money and saves lives.
- Community prevention is evidence-based.
- Prevention is based on decades of solid science. We all deserve to be healthy, and we are proud of the communities across the countries that are already showing results and building health through community prevention.
- We need to expand what is already working across the country so that everyone can enjoy health and prosperity. We can’t afford not to invest in what works.
- 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 other problems from starting. 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.
- 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