GASOPHE’s 2020-2021 Advocacy Priorities
The Georgia Society for Public Health Education (GASOPHE) is a statewide health education organization of professionals, students and partners. GASOPHE advocates for policies that will provide all Georgia residents with the opportunity to live healthy lives in healthy communities. We advance excellence in health education through research translation, professional development and practice in affiliation with the national Society for Public Health Education, Inc. (SOPHE). GASOPHE will pursue these policy priorities through administrative, budgetary, regulatory and legislative processes. GASOPHE will support the state of Georgia, local communities, schools, and other organizations in the implementation of these policy priorities through partnership and education.
Thanks to diverse partnerships from local, state and grassroot organizations below are recent successes:
- City of Atlanta Smoke Free Ordinance (2019, 19-O-1205)
- Federal minimum age for sale of tobacco products is 21 (2019, Tobacco 21)
- City of Atlanta Healthy Food Procurement Resolution (2020, 20-R-3968)
- Labor and industrial relations; provisions regarding employer’s obligation to provide break time for an employee to express breast milk (2020, HB 1090)
Although there have been some success, efforts continue as we work to advocate for policies and practices to improve the health of all Georgians. GASOPHE local and state priorities include:
Preventing the harmful effects of tobacco
GASOPHE supports state and local policies that promote tobacco cessation and smoke free environments. These policies include:
- Raising Georgia’s tobacco tax. Georgia has the 49th lowest tobacco tax in the country at just 37 cents per pack. The national average as of July 2020 is $1.82. Increasing the tobacco tax to the national average will reduce youth smoking, addiction, and the burden of chronic disease in our state.
- Supporting local city and county wide smoke free ordinances. Smoke free ordinances allow residents to enjoy clean air without the harmful effects of second-hand smoke.
- Strengthening the Georgia Smoke Free Air Act of 2005 to include model language following recommendations from the Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights.
- Investing in policies that support cessation counseling and services, including the Georgia Tobacco Quit Line.
- Supporting education campaigns that promote the dangers of Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS) and tobacco use for youth and adults.
Ensuring the ability to breathe
GASOPHE supports state and local policies that promote clean air and safe environments. These policies include:
- Supporting the adoption, implementation and enforcement of asthma friendly school policies in Georgia to improve health and reduce absenteeism.
- Supporting communities across the state in implementing policy and environmental changes.
Investing in public health and prevention
GASOPHE will support investments in public health and prevention in Georgia. This includes:
- Supporting state and local health departments in preventing disease and injury by promoting health and well-being.
- Supporting vaccinations, monitoring and preventing epidemics, and chronic diseases.
- Supporting and ensuring safe food and water, and providing both clinical and community-based preventive services.
- Building an awareness of the importance of social determinants to population health outcomes.
- Supporting and providing health education in communities that can lead to improved health.
- Supporting and providing mental health education.
- Addressing and supporting social justice and determinants of health. Provide education and support for health equity policy solutions. Social justice is the view that everyone deserves equal rights and opportunities —this includes the right to good health. To assure everyone has the opportunity to attain their highest level of health, social determinants of health AND equity must be addressed.
GASOPHE supports the federal policy priorities of the National Society for Public Health Education (SOPHE). National priorities:
Advocate for prevention, public health and health promotion policies at the federal, state and local level.
- Support tobacco cessation and control policies.
- Support policy action to remove flavored e-cigarette products from the market, including mint and menthol, to curb the youth e-cigarette epidemic.
Seek opportunities for health reimbursement for professionally trained health educators.
- Health education is a critical component to address health crises.
- Promote policies that increase health literacy.
- Advocate for health education in schools.
Read more about SOPHE Advocacy Priorities here