Board of health members have a unique opportunity to advocate for good public health policy in their community. Public health is “the science and art of preventing disease, prolonging life and promoting health through the organized efforts and informed choices of society, organizations, public and private, communities and individuals” (1920, C.E.A. Winslow). One of the core functions of public health is assuring that public health needs are met and this can done by advocating for policies that address the particular public health challenges each county faces. In order to be effective, board of health members need to understand what their responsibilities are, what advocacy is, and what methods are available to use to advocate for change
Advocacy is the deliberate process of influencing those who make policy decisions through education and specific actions. It is not only about creation or reform of policies but also about effective implementation, enforcement and evaluation of policies. A policy is a plan, course of action or set of regulations adopted by government, business or an institution designed to influence and determine decisions or procedures. Advocacy is a means to an end, another way to address the problems program strategies aim to solve.