Roots of Health Network
HIP and The Civic Engine are building a network of health professionals – doctors, nurses, community health workers, social workers, hospital administrators, medical and public health researchers, public health agency staff, leaders of public health or medical non-profits, and others involved in health and public health systems – who are interested in being spokespeople and advocates in various social determinants of health policy debates around the country.
We at HIP provide research, advocacy, and capacity building to community organizations and public agencies to understand the effects of policy proposals on health and equity, and we help them use this information to take action. The Civic Engine provides insights, strategies, and solutions to strengthen the community and economic roots of health.
Often the community organizations we’re connected to are interested in having local health professionals participate in communications and advocacy activities. This network is an attempt to fill that demand.
Health professionals are at the front lines of taking care of the medical symptoms of social and economic deprivation. You are witnesses to the suffering but the tools at your disposal don’t address its roots. But you can take action. You can join community campaigns for policy change aimed at addressing unmet needs.
Health professionals are a respected voice and can impact policy debates. The evidence is strong that social and economic policies and structures, not just personal behaviors and health care, impact health and health inequities. By joining this network, we can use our knowledge, individual and collective voices, and our power to advocate for policies that support everyone’s health and wellbeing.
Click here to join the network!
As the need arises, we will contact you to participate in communications and advocacy efforts to support local campaigns, and to identify other roles individual members might be willing to play.
Health professionals who join would be asked to support local, state, and national campaigns that HIP emails you about (see current campaigns above). Support could include:
- Letter writing
- Providing testimony
- Speaking at press conferences
- Making connections to those with influence
- Disseminating the request to other health professionals
We understand you would provide support as an individual, not as a representative of your organization. You won’t be expected to join all campaigns, just those that speak to you. And you would not be expected to make monetary contributions to campaigns, though we may ask for a contribution for an activity the network might undertake together (e.g., advertise in a local newspaper).
Federal Immigration Reform (2016): The Supreme Court agreed to hear United States v. Texas, a case to determine whether President Obama’s 2014 executive actions to defer the deportation of millions of undocumented immigrants were legal. The executive actions would defer the deportations of people who arrived in the U.S. as children and the undocumented parents of citizens and lawful permanent residents.
Prior to this hearing, in 2012, HIP partnered with experts and advocates nationwide to assess the public health impacts of current immigration policy. Findings included that a sense of safety is critical to a child’s health and well-being. Constant fear and anxiety harm a child’s physical growth and development, emotional stability, self-confidence, social skills and ability to learn. Yet for the over five million children in America who have an undocumented parent, fear is a constant companion. The effects of immigration policy matter not just to child health today, but risk harming health far into the future.
Because of the strength of the evidence and the magnitude of the impacts, HIP asked health professionals to sign on to this statement, which was shared with advocates working on immigration reform and the media.
Wage Theft in California (2015): The California Legislature was considering a bill – SB 588 – to enforce current state wage theft laws and help workers collect stolen wages. The year before, HIP researched the health impacts of preventing wage theft in Los Angeles and found that preventing wage theft would have significant positive effects on the health of those earning low wages, their families and communities:
- Income for those currently experiencing wage theft would increase and this would result in a reduction in the negative health impacts associated with poverty.
- Children whose parents experience wage theft would have better living conditions, food security, and parental involvement in their educational development. This would result in better developmental and physical and mental health outcomes for those children.
- The additional work time required to make up for stolen wages would be reduced and more time would be available for self-care, leisure, and family. The alleviation of time poverty would reduce levels of stress and resulting insomnia, anxiety, depression, and other mental and socio-emotional health problems.
- Low-wage workers who experience wage theft would experience lower levels of stress as a result of not feeling threated or retaliated against for reporting wage theft. This will leave workers feeling less helpless and improve mental health.
Because of the strength of the evidence and the magnitude of the impacts, HIP supported the California Fair Paycheck Coalition and its efforts to pass SB 588. We asked people to sign on to this statement that was sent to the California Assembly.
Do Not Stand Idly By (2015): Do Not Stand Idly By is an ongoing national campaign to pressure gun manufacturers to bring “smart” guns – guns with user-authenticated (e.g., biometric) locks, safes, or trigger mechanisms – to market. The campaign, organized by religious leaders affiliated with Metro Industrial Areas Foundation in major cities across the country, asks local government and law enforcement agencies to use their purchasing power to demand that manufacturers bring safer guns to market. Many public officials and agencies have signed on to the campaign, viewing it as an important step in reducing gun deaths.
Human Impact Partners supported Metro IAF in this campaign with research and advocacy. Research HIP reviewed found that safer guns can save lives and reduce gun-related injuries. It included that in 2013, over 30,000 people died of gunshot injuries and another 84,000 were non-fatally shot. Hundreds of thousands of guns are stolen each year and tens of thousands more are sold through straw purchases – when one person buys a gun for another. These guns account for many homicides particularly among young African American males – which we believe represents an ongoing health crisis. Guns – often those owned by others – are also used frequently in suicides, which have been growing in recent years, especially among the young white male population. Law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty are often shot with their own guns or those stolen from fellow officers.
Economic Security in Los Angeles (2015): The Los Angeles City Council was considering a resolution to increase the minimum wage to $15.25 per hour, guarantee that workers earn paid sick time, and include enforcement provisions that would prevent wage theft. Human Impact Partners had researched the health impacts of these issues – raising the minimum wage, providing paid sick days, and preventing wage theft – finding they significantly and positively affect the health of not only people earning low incomes, but all residents. Other health professionals have reached similar conclusions. Those effects include but are not limited to longer life span, reduced spread of the flu and stomach viruses through restaurants and childcare centers, less mental illness and chronic disease, and less food insecurity. These health outcomes are mediated through: increased ability to meet material needs and access to health care; reduced working while sick, time poverty, and chronic stress; better workplace environments and quality of neighborhoods in which people can afford to live; and improved child health and development.
Because of the strength of the evidence and the magnitude of the impacts, HIP supported the broad coalition of community activists, business leaders, labor organizers, clergy, and academics that were part of the Raise the Wage Campaign in Los Angeles. Click here to see a statement from 22 health professionals submitted to the LA City Council expressing their support for fair and decent work rules.