Models of Advocacy: Theory and Practice
This course explores the multiple roles that health advocates assume as they create productive change on behalf of patients/consumers, families, and communities. Advocacy is practiced by improving the way health care is delivered within existing systems, by restructuring or reinventing areas of the health-care system, and by eliminating barriers to health caused by environmental destruction, poverty, and illiteracy. Throughout the year, students will be exposed to leaders who practice in diverse arenas within this interdisciplinary field, including clinical settings, community-based organizations, advocacy organizations, the media, interest groups, governmental organizations, and policy settings. They will learn to analyze organizations and communities in order to understand hierarchies and decision-making within them, and to be exposed to frameworks for conceptualizing and promoting the right to health. The course will also explore strategies to give health advocates and consumers more power in making decisions, defining issues, designing programs, and developing policies. The experiences of individuals and communities, as well as how systems respond to those experiences, will remain a central focus as students explore concepts, models, and practices of health advocacy.