What is advocacy for public health?

GLC-SOPHE members are becoming more and more interested in policy and advocacy so we’re working to better serve your needs. This page serves as a resource to educate members about advocacy and what they  can do advocate for important public health issues.


The following terms are basic to understanding advocacy:

Health advocacy is defined as “the processes by which the actions of individuals or groups attempt to bring about social and/or organizational change on behalf of a particular health goal, program, interest, or population” (2000 Joint Committee on Health Education and Promotion Terminology, 2002, p. 3).


Lobbying, according to federal law, is any attempt to influence specific legislation (Vernick, 1999).


Grassroots lobbying is any attempt to influence the public or segment of the public to take action on specific legislation (Vernick, 1999). Grassroots activity is considered lobbying by the federal government when the public is asked to contact their representative to create, support, or oppose legislation (Vernick, 1999).


Electioneering, according to federal law, is any attempt to influence an election (Vernick, 1999)


It's important to know that we can play a big role in health advocacy by simply taking some time (even 10 minutes!) to raise awareness about important issues and change policy for the better.

Want to take action on important public health issues but don't know where to start? Check out these helpful resources below:


NACCHO Policy and Advocacy Toolkit


SOPHE Advocacy


APHA Policy and Advocacy


Please feel free to check out the blog posts on advocacy issues and let us know if you would like to share your experience and thoughts on a certain topic.

The GLC SOPHE Advocacy group holds a monthly phone conference to discuss and act on advocacy efforts for public health in Michigan. Please contact us if you are interested in joining.