Rich Hamburg, Deputy Director for the Trust for Americas Health opened the Web Forum, Moving Community Prevention Forward: New Funding Opportunities to Advance Community Health and Equity on June 23, 2014 by emphasizing the importance of sharing messages about the impact of work done through six new funding opportunities that would together put $650 million into advancing chronic disease prevention and health promotion efforts, if fully implemented over the following five years. The majority of this funding came through the Prevention and Public Health Fund, and ensuring that policymakers hear the important role that these funds have in improving community health and equity is critical to their being fully implemented.

That sentiment was echoed earlier this week in the Trust for America’s Health e-newsletter, the Wellness and Prevention Health Reform Digest, in which Hamburg urged readers to have letters ready in anticipation of the Senate version of the House-approved reconciliation package that would eliminate the Prevention Fund. Meanwhile, the Public Health Institute is leading organizing efforts to support continued funding for the Racial and Ethnic Approach to Community Health (REACH) program.

As Larry Cohen, Executive Director of the Prevention Institute said in his presentation on the 6/23 Web Forum: “emphasizing communications about what you’re doing with key stakeholders, including policymakers is really crucial. We really, really need to get the word out. And when we fail to get the word out, it’s not surprising that people don’t hear.”

Julie Peterson, Senior Director of Policy at the Comprehensive Health Education Foundation reinforced these messages about the importance of telling your story to policymakers. Based in Washington State, Peterson offered the local perspective. “All politics is local,” and while acknowledging the importance of having partnerships with national organizations, she urged that, “nobody can tell a story of what you are doing in your communities with these Prevention Funds like a constituent can.” Peterson gave a detailed presentation on how to effectively communicate with elected officials, and explained the difference between sharing stories about your work and lobbying.

Web forum participants were asked both about what current funding they receive, and which of these new funding opportunities they planned to apply for. Nineteen percent of respondents were recipients or sub-recipients of Community Transformation Grants, while seven percent received Section 1305 funds, four percent receive REACH grants, two percent Sustainable Communities and just one percent were Promise Neighborhood recipients. Only seven percent of respondents were not going to apply for one of the new grant opportunities, while 25% planned to apply for Partnerships to Improve Community Health (PICH), 16% for REACH, nine percent for Prevention and Public Health Funds (PPHF) 2014, six percent for Programs to Reduce Obesity in High Obesity Areas, five percent for National Implementation and Dissemination for Chronic Disease Prevention, and two percent for A Comprehensive Approach to Good Health and Wellness in Indian Country.

Over the past year, those grant recipients have surely generated a multitude of positive impact stories about how collaborative work has positively affected community health and equity in districts across the country.

How are you telling your story to policymakers so that they know about the great health benefits these funds have had in their district?

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