Partner Up! for Public Health is a statewide advocacy campaign designed to advance public health in Georgia. The campaign is part of a multifaceted effort to rebuild a public health system that has been decimated by budget cuts in recent years.
Following the success Hayslett Group had in working with Healthcare Georgia Foundation on an earlier campaign to execute a statewide trauma system Public Awareness and Marketing Campaign, we were chosen to lead efforts on this project. To date, Hayslett Group has developed a campaign brand, website and supporting educational materials. We have put together a 31-member Advisory Board with representatives from powerful organizations that lend weight to the effort. Those organizations include the American Cancer Society, American Lung Association, Association County Commissioners of Georgia, Georgia Municipal Association and AARP.
We have also planned and hosted four Leadership Academies in Tifton, Savannah, Rome and Athens that brought together local health, political and community leaders to learn about the current state of public health in Georgia and to, ultimately, work together as part of the Partner Up! campaign. Our efforts have resulted in a database of over 1,200 supporters in the six months since the campaign’s launch.
To build public awareness about the toll of budget cuts to the state’s public health department, we created the 2010 Georgia Public Health Rankings Report that pulls together county-level public health data from a variety of existing public sources and organizes it in a system that makes it easy to compare the health of citizens in any county with the remainder of the state and the nation.
So far, the campaign has managed to serve as a rallying point for those who want to see a better state of public health in Georgia. We have also succeeded in bringing this issue to state legislators through a letter-writing campaign and an educational dinner for the Health subcommittees of the Senate and House Appropriations Committees that took place in January 2011. After that meeting, the Senate Appropriations Committee agreed to put back funding that Gov. Deal had removed from his proposed budget. And, Rep. Mickey Channell introduced legislation that would move public health functions from the Dept. of Community Health and establish a new Dept. of Public Health.