Voices for Healthy Kids, an initiative of the American Heart Association, works to make each day healthier for all children. Our work is steeped in equity through grant making, technical assistance to systems change efforts at the local, state and tribal policy and collaborations. But what does that mean in 2021? Voices for Healthy Kids has spent the last 18 months focused on how we can call more explicitly for racial equity in all parts of our work – including our tools, resources, operations and support of grantees. This session will discuss these efforts with a focus on the culmination of our work in 2020 – a messaging guide to support grantees to call for racial equity in policy change.
We will review a tool we created this year, the Racial Equity in Public Policy Message Guide that provides readers with guidance on how to talk effectively about racial equity in policy and systems change. We will also share how we are supporting grantees and how some have used the Message Guide in their local efforts.
This session offers an opportunity to learn successful approaches that participants will be able to apply to their own work and a chance to review and practice messages.
Findings will be relevant to funders working on policy and systems change.
Terra Hall, M.Sc., is the media advocacy manager for Voices for Healthy Kids. She collaborates with campaigns to provide them with the essential technical assistance, state and local communications advocacy strategy, and editorial guidance they need to pass public health policies. Terra came to Voices for Healthy Kids from the media relations department from the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, a nonprofit dedicated to improving health outcomes for patients with and survivors of pancreatic cancer. There, she leveraged media relations to raise awareness about the disease, clinical trials and the need for increased research and funding. Prior to working in the nonprofit sector, Terra spent more than a decade as a TV and digital news journalist, where she reported state and local politics, health and breaking news.
Christine Compton, M.P.H., is a policy engagement manager for Voices for Healthy Kids with an expertise in nutrition policies that support the healthier communities nationwide. Before joining Voices for Healthy Kids, Christine served as the American Heart Association’s government relations director for West Virginia from 2013-2018. She fought to protect clean indoor air policies throughout the state. She also passed CPR in Schools legislation, Shared Use Limited Liability legislation, Stroke Systems of Care legislation and a 65-cent increase in the state’s tobacco tax. She is a two-year consecutive recipient of the Award of Excellence within the Great Rivers Affiliate (serving Ohio, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Delaware), has been named 2015-2016 Lobbyist of the Year, and received the 2015-2016 Rome Betts National Award of Excellence from the American Heart Association. Christine has also worked at the American Lung Association in West Virginia, where she was the manager of the West Virginia Asthma Coalition and the founder of West Virginia’s Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) Task Force. Additionally, she was a trainer for their Freedom from Smoking and Not on Tobacco cessation programs.
Jennifer envisions a world where everyone can reach their best health and well-being. She works with clients and communities to make that a reality by changing policies, power structures, access to information and services, or whatever else it takes. Most of Jennifer’s career has focused on public health, and she leads MG’s work in that area. She keeps a sharp focus on health equity and has a keen interest in addressing the many social factors that have an inequitable influence on health, such as educational success. She has led efforts to reduce the tobacco industry’s marketing power and influence, build reproductive well-being, increase job and housing options for people with disabilities, make schools healthier for students and staff, ensure that people have safe places to walk, and connect people to affordable and culturally reflective health care services, among other issues.
April Wallace is the health equity partnership manager for Voices for Healthy Kids. As a public health professional and passionate advocate, her work is dedicated to understanding the root causes of inequities and working to ensure the most socio-economically disadvantaged communities are represented and resourced across the initiative. Prior to joining Voices for Healthy Kids, she was the program lead for the Million Hearts Collaboration and developed partnerships with health organizations and community partners to support regional cardiovascular health programs. Her experience also includes leading diverse work groups, along with developing and implementing health education and promotion programs to improve health in communities nationwide. April is an alumna of Howard University, holding a Bachelor of Science in health sciences and master’s degree in healthcare administration and education. She is committed to advancing equity and civil rights for people of marginalized populations. A native Detroiter, she is passionate about engaging communities to build collective power and improve health outcomes.