In response to a HealthConnect Fellow's question about how to foster collaboration in times of scarcity and competition, a respected thought leader shared that his perspective has been to view disagreement and different approaches to work as “positive stressors.” He shared that the perspective of “positive stressors” provides an opportunity to review the direction of coalitions and/or their goals to determine if work is moving in the right direction.
Getting to the tipping point requires building consensus on strategy and outcomes. It requires shared and consistent messaging. It requires both persistence and the ability to be nimble—to react and respond to emerging threats and opportunities.
Long-haul Advocacy: Adopting a long-term, sustained advocacy approach to effective child health systems change
A long-haul advocacy approach recognizes that systems change often requires fluid planning involving a series of steps – with many fits and starts along the way. Small steps are usually needed to lay the foundation for larger ones. So what are some first steps for an aspiring long-haul advocate can take?
As the national health conversation shifted toward “social determinants of health” and “health in all policies,” so too did housers begin a discussion of “housing as a platform.” What we all collectively realized is that our decisions have broader consequences, and that we must all work together to create real and lasting change for the people we serve.
When advocating for the needs of youth who are homeless, it would be logical to support adding shelter beds for the community. But when advocates take the time to authentically listen to those people we are striving to serve, a more nuanced set of needs emerge.
Most of us who work in the policy arena, at least initially, do so more out of necessity more than desire. Obstacles and barriers that are created at the system-level (often, but not always, unintentionally), must be challenged at the system-level, at the policy level.