For public health professionals and advocates who want to communicate more effectively with the housing, education, health systems, and business sectors about the value of collaboration
Leverage allies and public health professionals working in or with other sectors as messengers
The Goal & The Challenge
When the goal is… to earn credibility with other sectors by demonstrating an understanding of their priorities as well as mutually shared goals…
The challenge is… there’s a commonly accepted notion that different sectors occupy different worlds, with their own values, objectives, and languages. Each sector is proud of its specialized knowledge base and distinct skill set, and also somewhat guarded against professionals from other sectors encroaching on its “turf.”
When You Say…Addressing shared societal challenges requires coordination and collaboration around a common agenda. Bringing a public health approach to the work of education can yield tremendous insight.
They Think…There may be some overlap, but public health’s agenda and approach are not the same as ours. Plus, the complexity of the education system makes it difficult for people in other sectors to navigate.
Framing can help
Framing can help potential collaborators focus on their commonalities, rather than dwell on their differences. The trick is to let professionals with cross-sector experience do the talking. Whenever possible, feature the perspectives and firsthand accounts of practitioners whose understanding spans another sector in addition to public health.
An effective reframe would look something like this:
As State Superintendent for Education, I’ve been thrilled to be a part of the solution to chronic absenteeism in communities across the state. When kids are healthy, they show up more often, participate more fully, and perform at their best. That’s why we’ve been partnering with public health professionals to reduce asthma triggers across our community, including in homes, public buildings, and other common spaces. Together we’re tackling a leading cause of chronic absenteeism in our schools and improving educational outcomes for our students.
Remember, the reframe isn’t a ready-made talking point. It’s a sample iteration that models the framing recommendation in action.