As our leaders debate the merits of the public health provisions in the economic stimulus bill, one wonders how best to make the case for this important funding.
Health departments, local coalitions, associations and people like you have been writing letters to elected officials, speaking with local media and doing everything they can to explain why investing in public health makes sense. We’ve highlighted how prevention will save money, how the funds will create jobs and how they will allow more people access to important public health services during these difficult economic times.
But this isn’t enough. Despite all the evidence in support of these provisions, they are still in danger of being stripped out of the Senate’s version of the bill. So we need a new approach. Perhaps the problem is that we haven’t succeeded in telling the story of public health – we haven’t given a face to the many lives touched by our work.
We need to share our stories with our leaders and our communities. Share how your clinic has been inundated with people who have lost their insurance and need to see a doctor, but you don’t have the funds to meet demand. Share how your public education campaign resulted in record high numbers of people getting their flu shots. Share how you finally quit smoking after your state required your work to go smoke-free.
Whatever your story, share it. If our elected leaders are able to hear the real-life stories of the lives improved through public health, we might just have a chance to change some minds.