NACHC’s advocacy team is excited to announce the Outstanding Advocate for August 2016, Alex Cragun, Legislative Coordinator for the Association for Utah Community Health (AUCH). As a leader and an innovator in public service beginning in his college years and continuing in his current role at AUCH, Cragun exemplifies the type of outstanding advocate that NACHC hopes will be a role model to those looking to step up their advocacy work.
While still a student at the University of Utah in 2008, Cragun first became involved in campaigning and lobbying. Since that time, Alex caught the policy and advocacy ‘bug’ participating in a number of initiatives ranging from municipal to statewide elections, specializing in communications and resource management. In 2011, he earned a degree in Political Science from the University of Utah. Cragun joined AUCH in 2013 and has served in his current role as Legislative Coordinator since 2015.
Despite having little familiarity or experience with Health Centers prior to joining AUCH, Cragun now says that he “can’t stop singing the praises of the program.” He is passionate about advocacy and in particular, spreading the message of Health Centers to elected officials and community leaders, and has done so very effectively.
As a participant in this year’s NACHC Advocacy Leadership Program (ALP), Cragun- along with 30 other advocacy leaders from across the country- learned more about advocacy strategy and best practices for outreach during the kick-off day-long training in Washington, DC in March in conjunction with NACHC’s Policy & Issues Forum (P&I).
On returning to Utah after the P&I, Cragun set to work improving and bolstering Utah’s advocacy programming. One of his biggest accomplishments thus far has been raising the profile of AUCH and Utah’s Health Centers online and via social media; their online presence has increased by 36% in the last six months alone! His other advocacy successes include a 500% increase in recruitment of advocacy liaisons at AUCH’s member Health Centers and the overall growth of Utah’s advocate network by over 230 individuals (and counting!).
How has he been so effective? Cragun makes a point to communicate with advocates on a regular basis, earning their trust, providing them with critical resources, and especially thanking them for all of their work. Like policymakers and Members of Congress, it’s extremely important to express gratitude to your supporters and not just interact with them when you need them to take action.
To get an idea of how Alex utilizes social media to boost advocacy, and to find out what AUCH and Utah Health Centers are up to, connect with them on Facebook and Twitter. Thank you, Alex, for all of your hard work and dedication to advocacy and the Health Center Movement! Congratulations on being our Outstanding Advocate this August!
Do you know an Outstanding Advocate who deserves this recognition? Let us know! Email Elizabeth Kwasnik at firstname.lastname@example.org.