Blog Written by Jeff Hild
Policy Director, Redstone Center for Prevention and Wellness
At the Building Community Resilience (BCR) collaborative and network — based at the Redstone Center for Prevention and Wellness, George Washington University School of Public Health — we are working to improve the health and wellbeing of children, families and communities across the country. We do this by working to align systems to address the “Pair of ACEs” — adverse childhood experiences in the context of adverse community environments. Essential to our work is making targeted shifts in program, practice and policy arenas. Among our five BCR teams across the country, they are working, for example, to co-locate supportive social service programs where children and families are, they are shifting practice by implementing trauma-informed approaches in classrooms and pediatric offices, and they are beginning to engage elected officials and advocating for policy changes.
As we did with our BCR Coalition Building and Communications Guide, we are again sharing our learnings to enable communities around the country to join us in taking up the work to build community resilience. That’s why we created the Building Community Resilience Policy and Advocacy Guide, which focuses on engaging policymakers in city, county, state and federal legislative offices. We hope you’ll join us on May 23rd from 1pm-2:30pm EST for a webinar launching this latest BCR tool for change.
Our five BCR teams helped inform this policy guide. They work in diverse political contexts — red states and blue states and blue cities in red states, communities with nearly universal health coverage to those with high rates of uninsured, and regions at the epicenter of the opioid epidemic to those raked by violence and those working to address histories of institutionalized racism. They are applying the BCR process, BCR communications and coalition building tools and policy and advocacy tactics in five regions: Oregon, Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky, Dallas, Washington DC, and Missouri/Kansas.
Building on BCR’s Innovative Program and Practice Change
BCR teams are at the forefront of innovative programmatic and practice changes that are creating linkages between health care providers, governmental agencies and community organizations to better support families. They are doing this, among other ways, by leveraging the resources of anchor institutions, such as universities and hospitals, and implementing trauma-informed practices in clinics, schools and early care settings. All teams are dedicated to shared decision-making with marginalized communities and co-created solutions that will improve community conditions. As the BCR work continues to evolve and mature, it became clear that informing and influencing public policy is critical to ensuring that our work can be sustained, enhanced and expanded to other communities.
Birth of the BCR Policy and Advocacy Guide
Understanding the policy landscape and thinking strategically about how, when and where to engage in policy debates can be confusing and intimidating. With the BCR Policy and Advocacy Guide and webinar, we aim to de-mystify the policy and advocacy process by providing communities with tools and tips they can use to develop and implement a policy strategy.
Our teams helped inform and are already using the BCR Policy and Advocacy Guide as they build their policy portfolios and nurture relationships with local, state, and federal policy makers. We’re excited to share this guide with others working to push for the policy changes needed to build resilient communities and support healthy families. This guide includes tools to help create a policy strategy, stay on the right side of lobbying rules, identify targets and allies, craft a compelling policy message using data and stories, and plan a successful meeting with a policy maker. The guide was created in partnership with the Campaign for Trauma-Informed Policy & Practice (CTIPP), a recognized leader and advocate for public policies and programs at the federal, state, local and tribal levels regarding the relationship between trauma across the lifespan and many social and health problems.
Please Join Us
We’re planning to unpack the policy guide and share some lessons learned and tips from our BCR policy work thus far. We’ll be sharing some of those experiences on a May 23rd webinar. We hope you’ll join us in building a resilient nation.