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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 9. Correction Loop

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After an advocacy team implements its strategy, disseminates advocacy messages, and evaluates the advocacy process and outcome, the team will determine whether the advocacy campaign was successful or not. If the campaign was unsuccessful and the advocacy team decides to resume the advocacy effort, the advocacy team will need to go through the Correction Loop. The Correction Loop is a phase during which an advocacy team cycles back to Phase 2 (i.e., formative research and message development) and Phase 3 (i.e., implementation and evaluation). In short, an advocacy team will have to correct its strategy and advocacy messages based on the process and outcome evaluations. There are two factors to consider in correcting strategy: reasons for negative responses and geographical or demographical differences.

In order to identify reasons for negative responses toward advocacy messages, an advocacy team may conduct surveys, interviews, or focus group sessions (refer to Chapter 4 for how to conduct methods). There are several possible reasons for negative responses toward advocacy messages. An advocacy team should identify the reasons for negative responses and correct the team’s ← 135 | 136 →strategy and revise advocacy messages accordingly. Although not exhaustive, these are possible reasons: lack of information, participation apprehension, and/or advocacy messages were not convincing enough.

Negative responses toward advocacy messages may have been due to a lack of information in advocacy messages. For example, advocacy messages may not have had adequate information regarding the advocated health issue. Consequently, audiences may not have comprehended the significance...

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