A few months ago, I got accepted as a fellow in the Women’s Policy Institute (WPI), a program of the Women’s Foundation of California that is dedicated to training women on how to do public policy work in the backdrop of our state’s capitol, Sacramento. The training program draws from the “learn by doing” model, placing people in teams to develop and implement a policy advocacy project in an area or issue of interest. Considering that Community Health Partnership’s mission is to advocate for affordable and accessible health care for all, participating in the WPI is a golden opportunity to enhance my skills as a health policy specialist.
Last week, I attended my first learning retreat. Lead by Marj Plumb, Director of the WPI my class of 35 participants benefitted from a Civics 101 refresher course, policy research trainings, and networking events with policy experts and legislators. In this class, there are 7 teams that will handle an array of issues affecting women: community health, criminal justice, economic justice, environmental justice, healthy youth development, reproductive justice, and health reform implementation.
I was excited to meet my mentor Yali Bair and colleagues on the Health Reform Implementation team. We all hail from different parts of California and work in various advocacy spheres. So far, we’ve all agreed that the legislative advocacy strategy we would like to pursue is writing a bill. Though many of us have lead and coordinated advocacy campaigns, we would like to get experience in “starting from the ground up,” writing our own bill and working towards getting it passed. We spent quite a bit of time last week brushing up on the various provisions of the Affordable Care Act, and researching how we can possibly strengthen its implementation in California.
If you could pass a bill into law, what would it be? How would you strengthen or change health reform, if you could? Do you have any suggestions for my team? Needless to say, we can’t use everyone’s ideas, but we would sure enjoy hearing from you. Hit us up over here, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll keep you updated. In the meantime, I’ll leave you with this video that used to air with my Saturday morning cartoons.