The term “public health” refers to the science and art of preventing disease, prolonging life, and promoting good health through organized society. Advocacy is the act or practice of advocating for something. In the context of public health, advocates promote policies, programs, and practices that improve population health.
Public Health Advocates (PHAs) are individuals who work within their communities to ensure that everyone has access to safe food, clean water, adequate housing, quality healthcare, and opportunities for economic self-sufficiency. PHAs also raise awareness about the social determinants of health, such as poverty, racism, discrimination, and environmental degradation, and they work to reduce these conditions.
Public health advocacy can be done at many levels, including:
• working with elected officials to influence policy decisions;
• educating community members about healthy living;
• providing technical assistance to organizations in order to help them achieve their goals;
• researching issues related to public health and disseminating information on those topics;
• helping people navigate complex systems of government and nonprofit agencies;
• developing new partnerships between public health professionals and private sector businesses;
• assisting local governments in improving services and facilities.