Discussion 1: Partnerships and Advocacy
Two sisters, Lindsay and Lexie Kite, devoted almost a decade to exploring images of so-called beauty in television, movies, and magazines. What they discovered was that girls and women are exposed to an almost constant barrage of media messages that only certain body types are beautiful and that to appear less than model-thin calls for extreme measures such as the digital alteration of photographs. The sisters devised an idea they called “Beauty Redefined,” which aimed to promote healthy body image and self-esteem among girls and to challenge the popular media’s unrealistic female images. They soon discovered the benefits of networking and found potential partners in unexpected places—such as the makers of Dove products—who shared their goals. The sisters concluded that the partnerships they forged were their most important asset in spreading their message.
Why are partnerships so important to public health programs? Partnerships are integral to advocacy and funding. When reaching out to others for help in building a public health program, consider both private and public partnerships. Ask yourself, “Who else would be interested in this initiative? What other groups not traditionally associated with this health issue might have a stake in the same public health problem or initiative? Who stands to benefit if my program is successful?” Learning how to partner with others may be the key to making your public health program a reality.
In public health initiatives, building partnerships is not merely a matter of asking others to join you to support the program, but asking them to advocate for the program as well. It is important to be aware of both the benefits and challenges related to advocacy in building effective partnerships to develop an effective public health program.
For this Discussion, review the media titled Raising Partnerships, Raising Funds. Consider some of the ways in which the organizations depicted used information to cultivate partnerships and increase advocacy for their public health program in their community. Think of the practical tasks necessary in building partnerships other than communicating needs, and the challenges you might face in recruiting partners.