Recap: 9/28 IAPO coalition meeting in Normal, IL


On Wednesday, Sept. 28th IAPO coalition members gathered at the Illinois State University Alumni Center in Normal, IL for the IAPO’s annual in-person coalition meeting.

Participants heard from a panel of speakers on national and state trends in obesity prevention policy and funding, honored the 2016 IAPO Health Champions, kicked off the fall HEAL Proposal campaign with a pep rally, played fun sugary drink education games, provided input on the coalition’s 2017 advocacy agenda, discussed priorities in workgroup meetings, networked and heard updates on partners’ work – phew!

Meeting Highlights

Panel Discussion: National and State Trends in Obesity Prevention Policyjacvk

  • Giridhar Mallya, Senior Policy Officer, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, spoke about the Culture of Health Framework and emerging policy trends, including individual-level interventions, food systems policy and social policy. View the presentation slides here.
  • Aaron Doeppers, Senior Manager for Strategic Partnerships, Voices for Healthy Kids
  • Jack Kaplan, Director, Public Policy & Advocacy, United Way of Illinois, spoke about the organization’s initiatives to improve community health and current opportunities for policy interventions, including state implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act – federal education reform legislation – and the Governor’s Cabinet on Children and Youth. View the presentation slides here.

IAPO Member panel: 2015-16 Achievements

  • Elissa Bassler, CEO, Illinois Public Health Institute, which convenes and administers IAPO, spoke about the coalition’s progress in bringing people together to advocate for policy, systems, and environmental (PSE) change at the state and local levels through legislative and administrative advocacy, and by providing training and technical assistance.member_panel
  • Corey Chatman, Program Manager, The Experimental Station, spoke about IAPO’s focus on health equity and our collective success at moving the Healthy Local Food Incentives Fund proposal, a bill that would increase access to healthy foods for customers using their SNAP benefits at farmers markets, through the Illinois House of Representatives and Senate. The bill is currently still wending its way through the legislative process and IAPO will continue its work to move that forward.
  • Mark Peysakhovich, Senior Director of Government Relations, Illinois, American Heart Association discussed IAPO’s legislative success, despite the budget impasse, to improve physical education (P.E.) and maintain the daily P.E. requirement, and noted the continued advocacy for the Health Eating Active Living (HEAL) proposal and the support we garnered for the SNAP bill.
  • Mark Peters, Director of Community Health, St. Clair County Health Department and co-chair of the Healthy and Active Communities Network, shared his perspective on progress at the grassroots level and how local coalitions have become increasingly involved with state-level advocacy around the HEAL proposal and Safe Routes to School.

mattieCelebrating IAPO’s Health Champions & HEAL Fall Campaign Kick-Off

  • IAPO honored our 2016 IAPO Health Champions: Illinois State Senator Mattie Hunter [D- 3rd District] and [in absentia] Representative Robyn Gabel [D- 18th District]). Senator Hunter spoke movingly about the impact of chronic disease on her constituents and the need to fund chronic disease prevention work through the HEAL proposal, which would establish a modest penny-per-ounce tax on sugar sweetened beverages – the single largest source of added calories in the American diet.
  • IAPO members then RAISED THE ROOF during the HEAL proposal fall campaign kick-off pep rally.

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Input into IAPO’s 2017 Advocacy Agenda: Discussion and Interactive Table Activities

The meeting closed with IAPO partners providing input on the coalition’s 2017 advocacy agenda and some reflection on what gets them excited about engaging with IAPO:

“Feeling the enthusiasm of shared health values!”

“Ideas for community goals.”

“How well-represented different areas of the state were!”

“All the passion and effort going into bringing healthy food options to low-income communities.”

“A wonderful opportunity to learn, network and impact our communities!”

“A great way to re-energize and recommit to IAPO’s work.”

“Working together toward a broad, overarching vision.”

Next steps

  • Stay connected with IAPO’s work: Sign up for our monthly newsletter to receive state and local PSE updates. Follow IAPO on Twitter and ‘like’ us on Facebook.
  • Want to get involved? Join us!