HEALTH ADVOCACY

Empowering the Voice of the Community

Simplifying and personalizing the healthcare experience to improve health outcomes and lower costs. Health advocacy encompasses direct service to the individual or family as well as activities that promote health and access to health care in communities and the larger public.

Within the health context, a community of ideas is exemplified by advocacy groups that focus on a particular goal or issue. The American Public Health Association, in coordination with its members and state and regional Affiliates, works with key decision-makers to shape public policy to address today's ongoing public health concerns. Those include ensuring access to care, protecting funding for core public health programs and services and eliminating health disparities.

Health in All Policies

Why do we need Health in all Policies?

Health in All Policies is based on the recognition that our greatest health challenges—for example, chronic
illness, health inequities, climate change, and spiraling health care costs—are highly complex and often linked. Promoting healthy communities requires that we address the social determinants of health, such as transportation, education, access to healthy food, economic opportunities, and more. This requires innovative solutions, a new policy paradigm, and structures that break down the siloed nature of government to advance collaboration.

What is Health in All Policies?

Health in All Policies is a collaborative approach to improving the health of all people by incorporating health considerations into decision-making across sectors and policy areas.
 

The goal of Health in All Policies is to ensure that decision-makers are informed about the health, equity, and sustainability consequences of various policy options during the policy development process. A Health in All Policies approach identifies the ways in which decisions in multiple sectors affect health, and how better health can support the goals of these multiple sectors. It engages diverse governmental partners and stakeholders to work together to promote health, equity, and sustainability, and simultaneously advance other goals such as promoting job creation and economic stability, transportation access and mobility, a strong agricultural system, and educational attainment. There is no one “right” way to implement a Health in All Policies approach, and there is substantial flexibility in process, structure, scope, and membership.

Five key elements of Health in All Policies

Promote health, equity, and sustainability.

 

Health in All Policies promotes health, equity, and sustainability through two avenues: (1) incorporating health, equity, and sustainability into specific policies, programs, and processes, and (2) embedding health, equity, and sustainability considerations into government decision-making processes so that healthy public policy becomes the normal way of doing business.


Support intersectoral collaboration.

 

Health in All Policies brings together partners from the many sectors that play a major role in shaping the economic, physical, and social environments in which people live, and therefore have an important role to play in promoting health, equity, and sustainability. A Health in All Policies approach focuses on deep and ongoing collaboration.


Benefit multiple partners.

 

Health in All Policies values co-benefits and win-wins. Health in All Polices initiatives endeavor to simultaneously address the policy and programmatic goals of both public health and other agencies by finding and implementing strategies that benefit multiple partners.


 Engage stakeholders.

 

Health in All Policies engages many stakeholders, including community members, policy experts, advocates, the private sector, and funders, to ensure that work is responsive to community needs and to identify policy and systems changes necessary to create meaningful and impactful health improvements.


Create structural or process change.

 

Over time, Health in All Policies work leads to institutionalizing a Health in All Policies approach throughout the whole of government. This involves permanent changes in how agencies relate to each other and how government decisions are made, structures for intersectoral collaboration, and mechanisms to ensure a health lens in decision-making processes.

Collaborative Approach

 A collaborative approach that integrates and articulates health considerations into policymaking across sectors to improve the health of all communities and people. 

Policy Decisions

A change in the systems that determine how decisions are made and implemented by local, state, and federal government to ensure that policy decisions have neutral or beneficial impacts on the determinants of health.

Multi-Dimensional 

It is a strategy to include health considerations in policy making across different sectors that influence health, such as transportation, agriculture, land use, housing, public safety, and education