— Former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm during her opening session presentation at APHA's 2011 Midyear Meeting in Chicago this past June
First, let me give you a little context for the above quote. It came near the end of an energizing speech about Granholm's experience as a legislator and her frustrations with the U.S. health care system. She urged the public health audience to help stage an intervention in the name of social justice and to hold policy-makers accountable for decisions that undercut the opportunities for good health and well-being. She was quite adamant, in fact. Let your voice be known among the decision-makers, she said, "they need to hear you and they need to fear you." Sounds like a call to action to this blogger and what better place than Washington, D.C., to put words into action.
During this year's Annual Meeting in the nation's capital, consider taking a trip to the halls of Congress and advocating on behalf of public health. APHA has all the tips and info you need for a fruitful visit with your member of Congress. Go to APHA's Annual Meeting Hill Visits site to view a webinar about setting up and attending visits on Capitol Hill; download a sample email that you can use to request a meeting with your representative; print out fact sheets on a variety of public health issues that you can leave with your representative and use as talking points; and take a peek at APHA's 2010 congressional voting record to see how your representative voted on key public health legislation. After your hill meeting, take a minute to answer our survey and let us know how it went.
Still a little nervous about a one-on-one visit? Check out Annual Meeting session 177 on Sunday, Oct. 30, which will focus on "Training for Hill Visits on APHA Priorities." And take advantage of APHA's Advocacy Track at the Annual Meeting for all you need to know to keep the advocacy train running year round (see the handy graphic below).
As many of you know, it's a pivotal time for public health in America and our voices can make a difference. Lawrence Wallack, dean of Portland State University's College of Urban and Public Affairs, said it much better during his closing session presentation at APHA's 2011 Midyear Meeting: "Each of us needs to speak our values so that others understand that our well-being is rooted in the community."
How about it readers? Ready to raise your voice?
P.S. Grab some unsalted popcorn and check out Granholm's and Wallack's entire speeches on APHA's YouTube channel. There's nothing like a good speech to get the advocacy sparks flyin'!