Turning the Ship: Moving From Clinical Treatment to Environmental Prevention: A Health Disparities Policy Advocacy Initiative

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  • This article examines success factors for a statewide initiative to reduce health disparities by establishing environmental policies to reduce asthma risk factors for school-aged children.
  • Twelve local coalitions and a statewide network focused on schools, housing, and outdoor air policies.
  • Multiple types and levels of policy advocacy were encouraged by the Initiative so that issues at the local level linked to larger issues across the state, and conversely state-level policies supported local endeavors.
  • Factors that contributed to the success of the initiative included: structuring the initiative on a systems change model; employing multiple technical assistance providers to assure fidelity to the model, building capacity, facilitating strategic partnerships, and facilitating mid-course adjustments; communicating “intentional” policy outcomes from the foundation; and structuring an evaluation team to analyze multi-level data and provide feedback at all levels.
  • Local coalitions that developed meaningful community engagement and used data to educate policy makers were the most successful.

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