Category : Advocacy
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.
Cultivating Change: How the HealthConnect Fellowship lifted a network of advocates to improve children's health
Two years ago, we launched the fellowship to foster a "tipping point" towards sound policy and practice changes that would positively and equitably impact the health of Iowa's children. We invited seven health advocates to join us as the inaugural fellows. Here is the release of our Cultivating Change report highlighting their work and our collective impact thus far.
The first piece of advice we are given when we decide to try creating system-level change is “you need to form a coalition." And if you ask, “What does it need to look like?” your answer is, "Get all the key stakeholders around the table." This is not enough.
In October, 18 children’s health advocates and their mentors met—some for the first time—to share their story about how each of us had arrived to Mid-Iowa Health Foundation’s HealthConnect Fellowship. I was struck by several themes that emerged from the three-hour conversation.
We are all familiar with this famous quote from Margaret Mead: 'Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has" With all due respect to Ms. Mead, I think she is mistaken. Particularly her comment that it is the “only” thing. It has been my experience that meaningful, long-lasting systemic change requires engaging large numbers of people.
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.