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Using Media to Advocate and Influence

Using Media to Advocate and Influence

Using Media to Advocate and Influence 

Advocacy in healthcare is very important, and healthcare providers can use it to influence policies and legislation. According to Jefferson (1987), the legislative foundation of any strong, democratic government stems from the viewpoints and opinions of its citizens (Oklahoma Rehabilitation Council, n.d.). Basically, this statement is used to imply that lawmakers rarely push for laws or policies, but the public does. Some prevailing issues requiring such public participation and advocacy include teenage pregnancies and substance abuse, which are alarmingly on the rise. Recent research sponsored and published by the University of Texas in Austin has revealed that nearly 60 percent of pregnant teens abuse one or more drugs, with opioids being the preferred choice, especially codeine, fentanyl, and hydrocodone. If left uncontrolled, this can endanger not only the mother’s life but also the unborn baby’s. Earp et al. (2008) argue that nurses can address problems of this magnitude through advocacy and politics. The authors also argue that collaboration with other players from the healthcare sector, such as physicians, pharmacists, lab technicians, and other sectors, is needed to achieve far-reaching health outcomes. Consistently, it is essential to describe the major elements that health advocates can use to influence policymakers to implement legislation and policy changes linked with teenage pregnancy and drug abuse, as well as the role of cooperation in health advocacy and communication.

Choose three key elements from “Changing public opinion” page and discuss how these elements relate to influencing policymakers.

As stated by the Oklahoma Rehabilitation Council (n.d.) in its commentary titled “Changing Public Opinion,” the power to influence or change policies and legislation lies in the hands of the people rather than lawmakers. Therefore, people interested in changing policies must exercise this power by voicing their concerns, in this case, about the high number of pregnant teens abusing prescription drugs. They can use the following three primary elements identified to create these policy changes. Firstly, concerned individuals can speak to their neighbors, friends, spouses, or their “inner circle” about teen pregnancy and substance abuse, seeking their viewpoints and opinions about the potential causes, risk factors, effects, and solutions.

Secondly, they can talk to the relevant groups and organizations concerned with developing or implementing teen pregnancy and drug abuse policies. For example, they can consult organizations such as the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to find out more information and facts about prevalence rates, the effects on a broader scale, the present policies, what the organizations are doing, and the future plans. Finally, interested individuals can use media, including both mainstream (books, journals, government databases, newspapers, radio, and television) and social media platforms (such as YouTube), to gather information about the problem of drug abuse and youth pregnancies. This information can form the basis for filing a case or writing a report to the relevant legislators, requesting them to initiate the constitutional amendment process or introduce a new policy.

Discuss the role of collaboration in health communication and advocacy.

Collaboration is vital in healthcare advocacy and communication because it ensures that care providers interested in changing a policy or public opinion have the requisite accurate information and data from other departments (IOM et al., 2011). This means that nurses must collaborate with laboratory technicians to ensure they are updated on the latest diagnostic techniques used in detecting pathogens or diseases. Similarly, laboratory technologies need to collaborate with pharmacists to keep themselves up to date with the latest drugs or pharmaceutical elements used in treating specific health problems, such as drug addiction symptoms like insomnia, anxiety, depression, and so on. This is important in advocacy because it ensures that people advocating for policy changes communicate accurately and, thus, are able to influence policymakers or lawmakers to consider the changes. Reporting inaccurate, erroneous, or outdated information can be misleading and result in rejecting the proposed changes.

Write a one-page letter, that encompasses the information from the above 3 bullets (on “opposing a proposal” or “supporting a proposal”).

Hellen Wallace


City, State

Phone number


The Honorable James Lankford

1015 North Broadway Avenue Suite, 310,

Oklahoma City, OK 73102

Re: Why and How We Should Bring the Public on Board to Influence Policymaking

Dear Senator Lankford,

I have been disheartened by the reports emerging from our media and research institutions showing that pregnant teenage girls in our country are getting involved in drug abuse at alarming rates. The problem seems to be getting bigger and more uncontrollable because the involved substances are prescription medications, especially opioids, which are readily available over the counter.

I once lived with a 15-year cousin who accidentally got pregnant and, perhaps because of the trauma associated with dropping out of school and constant ridicule, fell into drugs, and I can tell you from first-hand experience, senator, that it can get worse. Most of these girls are young, naïve, and vulnerable.

The problem is that our policies have, for a long time, failed to confront the issues of teenage pregnancies and substance abuse directly. This is not even it; we have a public that can offer concrete, long-lasting solutions but does not understand how best to do it.

I propose that you exercise your influence and power to assist the public in understanding the three key elements of “changing public opinion” proposed by the Oklahoma Rehabilitation Council, including leveraging the power of talking to friends, speaking to groups, and using media. I think this proposal will bring forward new and effective ideas that our government can use to contain teen pregnancy and drug abuse. We have had inefficient, impractical, and non-fitting policies for a long time, and it is time to bring the public on board.

I am looking forward to hearing from you. I am always available in case you might wish to organize a one-on-one briefing meeting. Please, contact me through my email or phone number.


Hellen Wallace


IOM, et al. (2011). The future of nursing: Leading change, advancing health. National Academies Press.

Oklahoma Rehabilitation Council. (n.d.). Changing public opinion.


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The Session Long Project entails you going through the process of influencing policymakers. Review the Oklahoma Rehabilitation Council Advocacy Toolbox.

Using Media to Advocate and Influence

Using Media to Advocate and Influence

Read the “Writing to government officials or lobbyists” and the “Opposing a Proposal” and the “Supporting a Proposal” sample letters. Additionally, read “Changing public opinion” for this assignment.

  1. Using the same topic from SLP 1, identify the level you wish to write to (local, state, or national).
  2. For this SLP assignment, choose whether you will be writing on “opposing a proposal” or “supporting a proposal.”
  3. Choose three key elements from “Changing public opinion” page and discuss how these elements relate to influencing policymakers.
  4. Discuss the role of collaboration in health communication and advocacy.
  5. Write a one-page letter, that encompasses the information from the above 3 bullets (on “opposing a proposal” or “supporting a proposal”).

Note: The first two pages must address above items 1-4. The third page is a one-page letter on “opposing a proposal” or “supporting a proposal” and encompasses the information from your required readings.

Length: 3 pages (excluding the cover page and the reference list).

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