What’s Health Got to Do With it?
What’s Health got to do with it?
This past Thursday, I traveled to Los Angeles to attend the Prevention Institute’s “Primary Prevention for Change” workshop at The California Endowment. More than 100 public and nonprofit health workers, advocates, policy advisors and community members came together to learn about changing norms and instilling a culture of prevention to promote healthy, safe and equitable communities.
My favorite part of the workshop was a segment titled, “What’s health got to do with it?” (cue Tina Turner.) This question was posed to us as we were shown a slideshow of real (yes these are real) advertisements and signage and asked to react. I have posted my top two below; take a look and share your reaction.
I was baffled that someone somewhere created this signage and thought it would be effective. What does this say about the norms of today’s communities? In what communities or neighborhoods would one expect to find signage such as this? What implications does this have on health, environment, and behaviors? And how can we change these norms to promote healthy communities? I will leave you to think about these ads…
Now, how do we change the norms? How do we promote prevention? The Prevention Institute has done a wonderful job of answering these questions. They know prevention works; their work is based on research, practice and analysis in health and safety issues.
Think about the tobacco campaigns or child seat laws. Both have changed health and safety norms and informed prevention. Depending on your generation, you might have come home telling a smoking parent they were killing you with secondhand smoke. In most cases, the parent took it outside or stopped all together.
Or, as a newborn, maybe you were brought home from the hospital in your parent’s arms, not in a child seat. Now, due to laws and preventative measures, hospitals check the safety of a car seat before newborns set foot outside of a hospital.
Working within the framework of the Elements of Community Health, the Prevention Institute utilizes the Spectrum of Prevention to affect Change (see below.)
“The Spectrum identifies multiple levels of intervention and encourages people to move beyond the perception that prevention is about teaching healthy behaviors. The Spectrum’s six levels for strategy development (listed below) is a framework for a more comprehensive understanding of prevention. These levels are complementary and when used together produce a synergy that results in greater effectiveness than would be possible by implementing any single activity. At each level, the most important activities related to prevention objectives should be identified. As these activities are identified, they will lead to interrelated actions at other levels of the Spectrum.”
I left the workshop inspired that the Prevention Institute exists and that they are sharing their wealth of knowledge, research and tools to create change and teach our community leaders and members at large how to promote healthy, safe, and equitable communities through prevention.
Prevention Institute is based in Oakland and brings cutting-edge research, practice, and analysis to today’s pressing health and safety concerns. More info can be found on their website by following this link.
Now that you’ve received some background, I’d like to hear your thoughts. What’s health got to do with it? How does your community view health and how are your community leaders seeking to improve the health and wellness of its citizens?
I’d love to hear your thoughts. Leave a comment, and we’ll discuss.
-Michele Silverthorn, Program Officer
Allaince Healthcare Foundation
About Alliance Healthcare Foundation
Alliance Healthcare Foundation is a San Diego-based nonprofit which works with nonprofit, government and community agencies to advance health and wellness throughout the San Diego and Imperial Counties. AHF works to serve the most vulnerable – the poor, working poor, children and homeless by providing grants, advocacy and education to support its region.
To learn more about our grantees visit here: AHF’s Grantee Page