County by County Blog

Project updates, commentaries, events and news about health across the nation from the County Health Rankings & Roadmaps team.

Taking Action: Working with Local Policy Makers to Build a Culture of Health

The County Health Rankings & Roadmaps strive to inspire communities to take action on the many factors that impact health. Recently, we hosted a webinar examining how to work with local policy makers.

Chris Rodgers, Douglas County Nebraska County Commissioner joined us last week to discuss his successful efforts and provide insights on engaging policymakers. Commissioner Rodgers has been instrumental in creating policy and systems changes that improve the health of all Omaha area residents. He also has a wealth of experience utilizing cross sector partnerships to enact health in all policies. One example, Omaha 360, utilizes job training and education programs, in addition to law enforcement interventions to provide young people positive alternatives to gang violence and illegal activity.

Key takeaways on engaging policymakers include:

  • “Don’t have your first contact be during crisis”—Reach out to policymakers proactively and become a resource to that official.  
  • Do your research-- Understand policymakers’ interests to see if your issues align with their priorities.
  • Always establish trust
  • Timing is Key--Keep abreast of local events and identify moments when your policy interests are in sync with leaders’ interests.

Watch the webinar here

Explore the Roadmaps to Health Action Center here

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