Health in All Policies: Working Across Sectors in Cooperative Extension to Promote Health for All
A Health in All Policies approach engages cross-sector stakeholders to collaboratively improve systems that drive population health. We, the members of the Extension Committee on Organization and Policy (ECOP)’s Health in All Policies Action Team, propose that adopting a Health in All Policies approach within the national Cooperative Extension System will better prepare us to contribute meaningfully to improving the nation’s health. We first explain the Health in All Policies approach and argue for why and how it is relevant for Extension. We then present insights gathered from Extension Family and Consumer Sciences program leaders and state specialists to assess whether national and state leadership are poised to adopt a Health in All Policies approach within their affiliated programs. Although participant leaders saw the value of the approach in contributing to population health improvement, they generally saw the Extension system as having lower levels of readiness to adopt such an approach. Six themes emerged as ways to increase Extension’s engagement in Health in All Policies: a paradigm shift within Extension, professional development of competencies, transformational leaders and leadership support, continued and new partnerships, information access for all levels and disciplines of Extension.
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