My experience at HEA Summit was eye opening. It was inspirational to see so many people passionate about Health Education in one place, all trying to make a positive change for our nation.
Participating in the Summit is an amazing experience! Every year I leave with new advocacy skills, a better understanding of our shared legislative agenda, and a renewed commitment to promoting health equity. Of all the professional development opportunities in our field, the Summit stands out as the one where we can make a difference. Hope to see you there!
What is the Summit and its Purpose?
The purpose of the Health Education Advocacy Summit (the “Summit”) is to increase the capacity of health education professionals and students to engage in effective advocacy for a common health education agenda at the national, state and local levels. Because the Summit is the result of the Coalition of National Health Education Organizations (CNHEO), leaders from each of the member organizations bring back to their own membership advocacy training, materials and resources to their own members. The Society for Public Health Education (SOPHE) is the lead organization for coordination of the Summit. It is also hoped that everyone brings back to their local area action items to continue their advocacy at home.
Who Will Be There?
Everyone! Historically we have a solid majority of students – both undergraduate and graduate — and professionals old and new. The Summit is designed to provide for all levels of experience and knowledge by running concurrent sessions aimed at differing levels of experience. If you are brand new to advocacy we will take you through the basics and make sure you are ready and confident to make calls on Capitol Hill. If you are a seasoned veteran, we will have advanced track advocacy sessions focusing on more advanced or focused topics. In short: if you have an interest in health policy or even a curiosity, this Summit will be beneficial.
What Happens at the Summit?
The Summit is a two and a half day meeting starting on a Saturday at Noon and concluding late afternoon on Monday. The first day and a half will be spent learning. As mentioned there will be multiple tracks covering basic, intermediate and advanced-level advocacy training, and will feature seminars by skill government relations staff. We will also prepare you to discuss the legislative priorities and will run practice sessions and brainstorming time within your own state delegations.
The final day of the Summit we convene on Capitol Hill and we “hit the halls of Congress.” Each person will make one or more visits to a Congressional office. If you are a student living at a school away from your home district, we encourage you to visit your home Congressional offices. It is always more effective to speak with an office where you are a registered voter.