Advocacy is a Year-Round Effort
NHSA is a leading voice in support of government policies and programs that serve disadvantaged pregnant women, babies and families. We do this by:
- Advocating in support of strengthening community-based services such as outreach, home visitation, care coordination (case management), health education, perinatal depression screening, Interconception care and other effective approaches to ensure optimal birth outcomes.
- Organizing an annual Capitol Hill Visit Day as part of our annual conference (when held in Washington, DC).
- Supporting legislation that addresses the same goals NHSA has.
- Providing advocacy resources to the Healthy Start projects.
- Working with partner organizations to strengthen and support policies and programs that improve quality of life for families and communities.
Whether a Member of Congress, a state legislator or a city council member, it is essential for policymakers and elected leaders to know that the types of supports and services like Healthy Start not only saves lives, but saves billions of dollars in health care and other costs.
What is “Advocacy?”
Advocacy is the act of writing or speaking to ask for support in favor of something, such as a cause, idea or policy; it’s active support.
NHSA thinks of advocacy as educating or providing information.
Contact Your Legislators
NHSA encourages all members, consumers and friends of Healthy Start to educate your elected officials about the necessity of the federal Healthy Start Initiative.
- To locate your U.S. Senators, visit senate.gov.
- To locate your Member in the House of Representatives, visit house.gov.
Don’t forget to educate your state and local elected officials about Healthy Start, infant and maternal mortality, too. We want everyone to be informed about issues impacting maternal and infant mortality and we want them to know how they can become involved in solutions that reduce disparities and improve birth outcomes.
NHSA’s Infant Mortality Awareness Month Toolkit has information on advocacy that can be useful anytime of the year, not just during September, when National Infant Mortality Awareness Month is held.
Tips for Educating Your Elected Officials
- Thank your elected officials for their past support of Healthy Start, if appropriate.
- Educate them about what your Healthy Start grant allows your organization to do and what the results have been.
- Inform them that the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has confirmed that Healthy Start funding is “being used directly and effectively to meet the program’s purpose.”
- Tell them that you would appreciate their continued support for the funding of Healthy Start. (Don’t ask them for their support. Tell them you appreciate it.)
- Leave behind (or send) informational material, such as a fact sheet about your program and how it is saving money and lives.
- Add your elected officials to your newsletter distribution list. Your legislator may not have time to read every piece of mail that comes to the office, but there is a staffperson who will.
- Invite your elected officials to visit your project or program and attend your special events.
Your advocacy efforts can make a difference in your community and across the country!