There are several ways you can get involved in public health advocacy. You may want to consider one of the following options:
1. Become an unpaid volunteer by joining a local chapter of the American Association of Community Health Workers (AACHW). AACHW is a national organization dedicated to promoting the role of community health workers in addressing the health disparities faced by underserved populations. The AACHW provides training, networking opportunities, and other resources to its chapters nationwide. For more information, visit www.aachw.org/chapters.
2. Join a state or regional association of public health practitioners. These associations provide professional development opportunities, promote collaboration across disciplines, and offer networking opportunities. Some associations focus on specific geographic areas such as New England, California, Florida, Texas, etc. Others have statewide membership. Examples of these associations include the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO), the National Association of County & City Health Officials (NACCHO), and the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE).
3. Attend workshops offered by organizations like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). These workshops cover topics such as how to write grant proposals, how to conduct policy research, and how to develop effective partnerships with communities.
4. Participate in the annual conference of the American Public Health Association (APHA). This event brings together thousands of public health professionals from around the world. It offers a variety of educational sessions, including keynote addresses, panel discussions, and poster presentations.
5. Apply for a position at your state or local government agency. Many agencies hire individuals who possess strong skills in public health advocacy.
6. Work for a nonprofit organization that focuses on public health issues. There are many nonprofits working to improve the quality of life for all Americans.
7. Consider pursuing a master’s degree in public health. Master’s degrees in public health are available through universities throughout the country.
8. Develop your own unique approach to public health advocacy. Each person has his or her own style of doing things. If you’re interested in learning about public health advocacy, ask yourself what you enjoy most and what makes you feel passionate. Then find ways to incorporate those interests into your work.