Category : Advocacy
Developing a policy agenda is normally a combination of looking back and looking to the future. But a mentor recently asked me three questions that have challenged me to take a different approach to crafting my agenda and to think bigger and bolder about the change we can lead for Iowa’s kids. Here are those three questions and how I’m thinking through them.
Advocates working to shift systems often face immense challenges: limited time, limited resources, too many roles, not enough influence. And in uncertain times like these, the challenges we’re working to address may seem so insurmountable that the idea of creating any kind of change feels impossible. These are the moments when we especially need to pause and recognize what we are accomplishing. Collectively, these wins add up to significant change, even if we don’t immediately recognize it. In the spirit of honoring our wins, we’ve compiled just a few examples of what the HealthConnect Fellows have achieved over the past few months. These achievements also highlight what system change can look like and the impact it has on the well-being of our children.
While many of us looked to systems we thought could guide us through COVID-19, we discovered that there were no systems where we expected to find them. What we are calling “system failure” is really system “expectation” failure. Advocates often work to shift systems to have the greatest impact on the most people, but we must consider whether there is a system to change in the first place and whether a system can create the change we’re seeking. Here are questions we should be asking.
The 2020 legislative session will be my eighth legislative session as a child advocate. The eighth year I will go to the state capitol and work to ensure that children are a top priority for Iowa policymakers. This year is the first year that my advocacy efforts have transitioned from ideological to personal.
Remarks shared by Kayla Powell at the HealthConnect Fellowship Celebration on November 18, 2019. Kayla shares her story of growing up in the foster care system and challenges all of us to do better for Iowa's children.
For all children in Central Iowa to have equal opportunity for good health, greater attention and resources must be directed to addressing the fundamental causes of poor health for children and youth. These fundamental causes, or social determinants, of health are often largely impacted by public and private, organization, local, state and federal policies and practices.
The Mid-Iowa Health Foundation HealthConnect Fellowship strives to engage and build the capacity of key professionals working to improve social determinants of children's health, and help them grow as public policy change agents to improve children's health in central Iowa.
This HealthConnect Fellowship Blog is intended to share learnings from the Fellows and other national experts with our broader community of children's health advocates.