“Spotlight: ALP Masters of Advocacy” is a CFAHC blog series that shines a light on individuals who completed the Advocacy Leadership Program (ALP). Each year the ALP begins at NACHC’s Policy & Issues Forum continues throughout the year via advocacy educational webinars and an ALP Advocacy Project. Participants learn from both NACHC Advocacy Staff and each other how to develop and hone their advocacy skills in order to build advocacy capacity and develop a robust network on the ground in their communities. These blog articles feature the creative and successful advocacy work completed by some graduates of the ALP.”
This week’s grad is Dante Rosh, Director of Administrative Services at Family HealthCare Network (FHCN) in Visalia, CA.
Dante’s goals for her ALP advocacy project were to work with her health center’s staff to improve their understanding of health center advocacy and to increase staff participation in advocacy efforts at the health center. “One of FHCN’s operational goals this fiscal year is that by January 1, 2014, we plan to expand the number of staff who responds to NACHC’s calls for advocacy by 10%,” said Dante. Establishing a measurable goal is one of the best and most important first steps in developing any health center advocacy plan. Dante kicked off her advocacy efforts at FHCN by setting an achievable advocacy goal and gaining the buy-in of leadership staff at the health center.
Dante took another important first step by engaging FHCN staff on advocacy issues: she got their advice. FHCN leadership posted their advocacy goals on the wall one day and requested feedback from staff on how to achieve those goals. “A lot of staff asked, ‘What is advocacy?’, ‘What is NACHC?’, and ‘Why is it important?’ and also provided a lot of great suggestions as to how we could achieve our goal.” Another golden rule of advocacy is never to assume that folks know what advocacy is or why it’s important that they get involved. Dante was able to lead her advocacy initiative with basic education about the “what”, “why” and “how” of advocacy. Once an educational foundation is established, next steps to success are much more easily leveraged.
In addition to education discussions, Dante received invaluable feedback and advice from FHCN staff that led her to develop an email campaign to keep staff informed on FHCN’s advocacy efforts. Dante now plans to include information and updates from the NACHC and CFAHC websites as well as incorporate social media, such as YouTube videos, into the emails to help keep staff informed and easily able to access information. Dante is also working on incorporating advocacy email sign-ups into the health center’s new hire orientation at FHCN. Looking ahead, once Dante ensures that FHCN staff are up-to-date on health center advocacy issues, she plans to feature them in a advocacy video that promotes the importance of being a health center advocate.
“I am very excited to spread awareness about advocacy in my Community Health Center and look forward to the challenge,” said Dante.
Dante and the advocacy work she is doing at FHCN is a wonderful example of how individual health centers can be successful in their advocacy efforts locally. Well done, Dante and congratulations on successfully completing the NACHC Advocacy Leadership Program.