Public health and health equity have three major (but preventable) challenges…Three reasons why this health equity resource needs YOU…One Healthy Atlanta. Read More
- PUBLIC HEALTH & THE HEALTH EQUITY MOVEMENT NEED IMAGE MAKEOVERS. Like yesterday! They get a bad rap in the “popular” category of the yearbook, and are rarely invited to the “cool kids” table. Why? Well…No sexy 8-pack abs like the health & fitness industry; No side stepping a slew of regulations like the holistic wellness / vitamins and herbal remedies industries; Limited one-on-one relationships with “audiences,” who are groups of people, not individual “patients,” like the clinical health industry; Even worse, people often think of public health policy as restricting personal choice. Anyone want the “food police” at the pool party? No?!
It will take real people building one-on-one relationships with real people, to find better ways to talk about the work and make Atlanta healthier and healthier.
- MONEY TALKS. AND PAYS FOR MARKETING, LOBBYING AND…EVERYTHING.
Have you heard Rick James’ “Money Talks?” (1982):
Ronnie ran for President because he wants to control where the money’s spent. What about the war and destitute? Well, they don’t matter. They do not compute. What about the blacks and the whites and the reds are so uptight. Cause money’s walkin’, money’s walkin’
Read the full lyrics here. Whether we can agree with Rick on the lyrics, maybe, maybe not. But community art is profound, because it speaks from raw experience. Money is a whispering roar in the ear of every politician, publicly funded program, business venture and kid running to catch the ice cream truck. Bet! Growing up, I had my quarters at the ready on the end table by the front door!
The size of public health budgets cannot compare to the scale of the challenges communities face. Public health cannot charge people money for services they need because they cannot afford basic care. Public health cannot keep pace with shiny marketing campaigns throwing money at television screens to nudge kids and families towards accepting sugary treats and drinks. It’s just math.
But social media! The internet is almost as much a part of the water supply as the TV is. Social media is as cheap a deal as you can find for high quality marketing, but it’s not being used to its potential by public health and health equity. That really needs to change.
- PUBLIC HEALTH IS NOTORIOUSLY FRAGMENTED.
If this one needs explaining, stay with me. It really goes back to money. Public health funding generally comes from grants awarded by foundations and government sources (“soft money”), and a loose net of dedicated local and state funds (“baseline funding”). All operating within their own organizational systems. All stretching to meet a prescribed set of goals according to the terms of their funding. There are extensive and invaluable collaborations, coalitions and conferences designed to bring them all together as best they can. Efforts are still duplicated; gaping holes are still left un-patched. Programs (and public trust) come and go with funding tides.It is very difficult to also involve every day people, who ultimately benefit (or not) in these organizations, collaborations, coalitions and conferences. Every day people are busy working, commuting, attending kids’ practices and struggling to eat dinner as a family a couple nights a week. There’s not much time left to engage in public health forums.
Plus, these days, it is widely acknowledged that health is a very complex cocktail of many “social determinants of health” (sdoh). A mix of education, employment, access, transportation, environment, social support and on and on and on, all combine to impact the quality of life and the extent of health choices available to everyone. It’s a lot for the industry to juggle.
Folks need more easy-access, local networks to make the most of it all. This group and blog can serve as one.
Three challenges, three reasons. One you, one resource to track. One Healthy Atlanta.
SEE YOU INSIDE,