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Health Advocacy

A Communication Approach


Marifran Mattson and Chervin Lam

There is growing emphasis in Health Communication on the study of communication processes that aim to change systems, policies, beliefs, attitudes, and/or behaviors for the betterment of the health of individuals and communities. Engagement on behalf of individual and community health is the basis of health advocacy - the attempted effort to change health policies so that better health outcomes may result.
This book explores the processes and strategies involved in creating a health advocacy campaign to guide current and aspiring health advocates to successfully advocate for policy change.
The Health Communication Advocacy Model is provided as a framework for exploring these issues. The model emphasizes the message design process, particularly in the tailoring of messages to address the needs of target audiences. However, consideration of important health advocacy concepts also is provided, including how to organize an advocacy team, approaches to formative research, research-based strategies for crafting effective health advocacy messages, and recommendations for what to do when an advocacy campaign is ending. This framework is designed for users to execute an advocacy effort for any health issue – from obesity, to cancer and smoking - in an efficient and effective manner.
Ultimately, readers will learn how to lead a successful advocacy campaign and accomplish their desired advocacy goals.
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Chapter 8. Implementation and Evaluation

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After an advocacy team has developed advocacy messages and pre-tested those messages, the team proceeds to implement their strategy. Specifically, the team will disseminate the advocacy messages to target audiences. There are several ways to disseminate advocacy messages effectively to target audiences, and some approaches may be more effective for a particular audience than other approaches. The media, relevant populations, and legislators may each respond differently to the advocacy messages. Therefore, the advocacy team will monitor the advocacy process and evaluate any aspect of the strategy that did not work well. As the advocacy campaign nears its end, the advocacy team will evaluate the outcomes and determine the next course of action.

There are several ways to disseminate advocacy messages to target audiences. However, not every approach is suitable for all audiences; depending on who the audience is, various approaches to disseminating messages may be more effective than other approaches. A rally is an effective approach for disseminating advocacy messages to the media; the use of media and promotional talks in ← 119 | 120 →communities are effective for communicating advocacy messages to relevant populations; and the use of media and a rally are useful for disseminating advocacy messages to legislators. This is not an exhaustive list of approaches, but these are effective approaches that we recommend.

A rally involves many people convening together to raise awareness about a particular issue. A rally typically involves the use of banners, signboards, and loudspeakers so that the rally may get...

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