HCC director receives scholarship: one of 20 members selected

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FARMINGTON – Heather Davis has been selected to receive a scholarship from the Society for Public Health Education (SOPHE) to participate in the first-ever SOPHE State Health Policy Institute (SHPI).

Davis serves as executive director of the Healthy Community Coalition, which is based in Farmington and an affiliate of Franklin Community Health Network. The Healthy Community Coalition is one of Maine’s first healthy community coalitions and has developed into a role model program that is
acclaimed throughout Maine and nationally.

Davis was one of 20 members selected to participate in the Institute. The twenty SHPI awardees represent states from Maine to California, Minnesota to Louisiana, and 16 states in between. The selected applicants represent a diverse cross section of the country and display a deep understanding of policy, collaboration, and an urgency to educate policymakers about evidence-based strategies to address chronic diseases and help control health care costs.

Participants will receive intensive training and education at the first SHPI, to be held May 6, immediately before SOPHE’s Midyear Scientific Meeting, in New Orleans, Louisiana.

“We’re at a critical time in our nation’s history when we must educate policymakers about chronic disease strategies and interventions that work, especially those impacting health disparities,” says M. Elaine Auld, MPH, CHES, SOPHE’s chief executive officer. “We are confident that deploying this
new cadre of health promotion experts will help catalyze important community-based changes to improve the public’s health.”

Following their training, the state health promotion policy experts will begin developing and implementing plans to address one or two major chronic disease problems by joining with state and local coalitions and community members. Their training at the Institute will help them: understand critical nuances in state and local policy change; work with media more effectively; identify sources of state and local chronic disease data; identify social determinants of health; and how to access the latest research on systems changes to support healthy lifestyles. The new initiative is part of a broader SOPHE effort, in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to make more evidence-based information about chronic disease available to policymakers and other key opinion leaders.

Founded in 1950, the Society for Public Health Education’s mission is to provide leadership to the profession of public health education and to contribute to the health of all people and the elimination of disparities through advances in health education theory and research, excellence in professional preparation and practice, and advocacy for public policies conducive to health. For more information, see its Web Site at www.sophe.org.

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