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Building and Sustaining Coalitions. Community Health Education Methods Chapter 13 Frances D. Butterfoss, Ph.D., M.S.Ed. Michelle D. Whitt, M.A. Notes by John J. Brusk, M.P.H. Community Coalitions.

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Building and sustaining coalitions l.jpg

Building and Sustaining Coalitions

Community Health Education Methods Chapter 13

Frances D. Butterfoss, Ph.D., M.S.Ed.

Michelle D. Whitt, M.A.

Notes by John J. Brusk, M.P.H.


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Community Coalitions

  • Definition: a group of individuals representing diverse organizations, factions, or constituencies within the community how agree to work together to achieve a common goal.

  • Characteristics

    • Formal

    • Multipurpose

    • Long-term alliances


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Community Coalitions

  • Activities

    • Analyze community problems

    • Implement solutions

    • Create social change

      • Demonstrations

      • Maximize power of individuals via collective action

      • Prevent reinvention of the wheel

      • Improve trust and communication among community agencies

      • Mobilize talent, resources and strategies

      • Build constituencies


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Community Coalitions and Advocacy

  • Building a coalition in and of itself is not necessarily advocacy, but advocacy can be integral in the success of a coalition

    • For example, development of a media advocacy team can provide assistance in promoting newsworthy coalition activities by creating press kits, releases and networking with local news teams.


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Community Coalitions and Advocacy

  • Other advocacy activities that support coalitions include:

    • Promoting recruitment through understanding why volunteers want to be involved and marketing the benefits of participations

    • Increasing positive external communication with the communities served by the coalition

    • Building internal morale and gaining support from influential people, such as legislators and local policymakers

    • Ensure that coalition efforts are recognized publicly


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Using Media Advocacy to Influence Policy

Community Health Education Methods Chapter 15

Lori Dorfman, Dr.P.H.

Notes by John J. Brusk, M.P.H.


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Media Advocacy

  • Nonprofit organizations and community activists often are unhappy with the way their issues are presented in the news, and typically respond by criticizing the media, ignoring it, or even becoming hostile.

    • These responses are nonproductive

    • Media advocacy addresses this problem by helping people understand the importance and reach of news coverage, the need to participate actively in shaping such coverage, and the methods to do so effectively.


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Steps for Developing Effective Media Advocacy Campaigns

  • Before public health advocates can harness the power of the news, they have to be clear and precise about why they want to use media advocacy

  • Steps:

    • Develop an Overall Strategy

    • Develop a Media Strategy

    • Develop a Message Strategy

    • Develop an Access Strategy


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Develop an Overall Strategy

  • Four questions help to guide the overall strategy:

    • What is the problem or issue?

    • What is the solution or policy – the desired outcome?

    • Who has the power to make the necessary change?

    • Who must be mobilized to apply the necessary pressure?


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What is the Problem or Issue?

  • The key here is that advocates must isolate the piece of the large public health problem that will be addressed specifically.

  • One way advocates can narrow the problem is by focusing on how the particular issue creates issues for a particular group or even more specifically, for a particular group in a particular situation or environment.


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What is a Solution or Policy – The Desired Outcome?

  • Public health advocates need to identify a solution or policy – not necessarily one that will solve the entire problem, but something that can make a difference.

  • Public Health advocates need to be clear about what they want to happen:

    • Is a new law necessary?

    • Is more enforcement required?

    • Does the budget need to be changed?

    • Does someone need to take responsibility?

    • What and when should they do it?


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Who Has the Power to Make the Necessary Change?

  • This question identifies the target audience

  • In this context there is a difference between traditional use of mass media in public health as a vehicle for public information campaigns to change personal behavior and media as an advocacy tool to change policy.


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Who Has the Power to Make the Necessary Change?

  • The primary target for a media advocacy campaign to reduce alcohol problems on campus would not be the students who are drinking. Instead, it would be the alcohol vendors and those who regulate them…eliminating happy hours would be an example, followed by appropriate news coverage outlining the benefits to the community.


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Who must be Mobilized to Apply the Necessary Pressure?

  • Many legislators and other policymakers are unlikely to support a controversial change unless constituency groups put pressure on them

  • Pressure can consist of phone calls, letters, demonstrations, media coverage and office visits


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Develop a Media Strategy

  • Mass media interventions used for health education focus on the “knowledge gap”

  • Conversely, media advocacy focuses on the “power gap”

  • Media advocacy is the strategic use of mass media to advance public policy by applying pressure to policymakers


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Develop a Media Strategy

  • Media advocacy strategies:

    • Linking public health and social problems to inequities in social arrangements rather than individual flaws

    • Changing public policy rather than personal behavior

    • Focusing primarily on reaching opinion leaders and policymakers rather than on those who have the problem

    • Working with groups to increase participation and amplify their voices rather than providing health behavior change messages

    • Having a primary goal of reducing the power gap rather than just filling the information gap


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Develop a Message Strategy

  • The message is what is said to the target

  • The overall strategy determines the target audience

  • The message is delivered to the target through the news media

  • Because media advocacy messages are transmitted through the news media, it is useful to examine how the news media typically interpret and represent issues. This process is called framing


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Develop a Message Strategy

  • Framing is the process of identifying how the issue will be depicted – it is the package in which the main point of the story is developed, supported and understood

  • To focus attention on the broader picture (the landscape), media advocates try to frame the content of a news store, or the message in that story

  • Framing for content shifts the individual problem to a social issue


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Components of a Message

  • The message is what to be said to the target audience – those who have the power to make the change being sought.

  • Advocates should understand how typical news stories might connect to a particular health issue and be able to complete the following statement:

    • Every time there is a story on __________, it should include information about _________

    • Advocates need to focus on the solution and be prepared to briefly identify the problem and emphasize what needs to be done to solve it – Media bites are essential elements of a story that be given to reporters to tell the public health side of the story – also compelling visuals can be prepared to help illustrate their point of view


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Develop an Access Strategy

  • After advocates have determined an overall strategy, selected a media strategy and crafted a message, they are ready to attract journalists’ attention. At this point, they must think of what parts of the issue will make a good story. By emphasizing those elements, advocates will be framing the issue for access.


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Monitoring the News and Building Relationships with Journalists

  • Monitoring means listing and paying attention to the local and relevant national media outlets. For each of the outlets, advocates will have to determine how often it covers the issues that are of concern.

    • Also means noticing what the coverage says about the issue – does it tell the whole story? What important aspects are missing?


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Monitoring the News and Building Relationships with Journalists

  • The first step is to compile a list of local media contacts and include:

    • Reporter name

    • Telephone and fax numbers

    • Email and mailing addresses

    • Best time to reach the reporter

    • Sections (or “beats”) the reporter writes for

    • Notes pertaining to interactions to date


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Monitoring the News and Building Relationships with Journalists

  • Framing the issue for access involves making the issue newsworthy

  • Newsworthy issues have the following characteristics:

    • Controversial

    • Presence of a milestone event, such introduction of regulations or an anniversary

    • Irony – e.g. the contrast between outrage over President Clinton’s testimony to special prosecutors and the lack of interest in tobacco company executives who lied to congress

    • National implication


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Techniques for Successful Media Advocacy

  • Calculate Social Math

    • Social math is the art of making large numbers meaningful, usually by breaking them down and making a relevant, vivid comparison – e.g. about 950 packs of cigarettes are sold in the US every second of every day

  • Localize the Story

    • Why does the store matter to people who live here?


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Techniques for Successful Media Advocacy

  • Elevate Authentic Voices

    • Authentic voices are survivors who have become advocates

    • They bring personal experience to the story, just like a victim, but they understand their role as advocates

    • When an authentic voice gets the question, “How do you feel about this tragedy?”, he or she responds, “I feel angry because this tragedy could have been prevented,” and then explains how.


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Techniques for Successful Media Advocacy

  • Reuse the News

    • To ensure the target understands the public nature of the conversation

    • Can be used to educate reporters who are just coming to the issue or to educate new advocates

    • News, simply by virtue of having been published, confers legitimacy and credibility on issues

    • Media advocates reuse the new to remind the target that the public is paying attention and knows what it wants done


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Overcoming Challenges in Media Advocacy

  • Have a clear strategy

  • Alter perceived institutional constraints

  • Avoid being distracted by the opposition

  • Stay on message


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