Will social marketing play a role in pubic policy for disease prevention and health promotion over the next 10 years? One arena in which social marketing could 'be at the table' are the Health People 2020 objectives - the national health priorities for the decade. For those new to the process, these objectives help guide the development of Federal programs, how grants and contracts are crafted and dispersed, and when the question is asked 'What are the priorities?' - where many people go to for the answers.
While I and some guests have been writing about HP 2020 regularly here over the past few months, very few social marketers took advantage of the opportunity to provide public input into their formation (kudos to Bob Marshall. Mike Rothschild and Mike Basel for making comments on the HP workspace about them). Whether there will be ANY draft objectives related to social marketing will now be in the hands on the Federal Interagency Workgroup (FIW) over the Summer. We will have to wait to see what emerges from that group in the Fall when there should be one more round of public comments before the final objectives are set for a public launch in 2010.
For those of you who are interested in how social marketing could be represented in HP 2020, I did put together some of the ideas talked about in the Health Communication and Health IT Workspace as draft objectives for the FIW to consider. You can download the entire 6 page document by going to the site, registering and then clicking on the library section where it is posted in its entirety. Here's the nut of it:
1.1. All Federally-funded public health programs that aim to improve the health of population groups (segments) through changes in voluntary behaviors, social norms and customs, environmental and structural changes, and/or regulations and policies should demonstrate adherence with the following principles:
a. Actively engage people and organizations for whom the program is intended to serve in the development of program outcomes and strategies.
b. There must be a set of integrated activities that analyze, design for, implement and evaluate programs that specifically address (1) products, services and behaviors that will improve individual health and well-being; (2) realign incentives and costs to facilitate behaviors for the individual and organizations; (3) create opportunities and improve access to beneficial products, services and places that encourage and support behavior change; and (4) employ state-of-the-science communication strategies and tools to promote and support positive change at all levels of society - individuals, families and other social networks, organizations and communities.
1.2 Increase access to training opportunities and capabilities of public health professionals to develop and implement disease prevention and health promotion programs based on a systematic social marketing approach
· Undergraduate and graduate training in schools of public health
· Continuing education training for public health practitioners.
Whether you agree or disagree with what is here is less important than if you care. If you care, then I hope you will get onto the site and start leaving more comments - support it, trash it, offer other ideas. What is written in the work space is the official record of the public process - not your tweets, postings on blogs and SNS, hallway conversations or emails. And if you are not the social media (wiki) sort, start talking it up with people who represent you in other public health organizations who will be lobbied (or educated) by numerous interests who want to see their agenda part of the Federal agenda.
As the saying goes, If you aren't at the table, you're likely on the menu.