Category : Advocacy
In the words of HealthConnect Fellowship Lead Mentor Rick Kozin, “Our vision for system change is driven by our values of the world as it ought to be. But, to successfully create this change, we must work in the world as it is.” As a result, advocates often face a tension between whether their vision justifies the tactics to achieve it. Here are a few ways HealthConnect Fellows have navigated the line created by this tension to make progress toward their ultimate goals.
Through strategic thinking, relationship building, courage, and persistence, central Iowa advocates are making incredible progress in shifting how our systems interact with and support children and families. The work is hard and long term but pausing to celebrate along the way helps acknowledge the progress that is being made. That’s why we are taking this moment to highlight just a few examples of the HealthConnect Fellows’ amazing work and to showcase what system change can look like. Check out how these efforts are improving the well-being of our kids.
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.
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.