Reflections on a 38-year career in public health advocacy: 10 pieces of advice to early career researchers and advocates

Public Health Res Pract. 2015 Mar 30;25(2):e2521514. doi: 10.17061/phrp2521514.


There are many important principles and lessons that public health researchers and advocates who hope to influence policy and practice need to consider. In this paper, I set out what I consider to be 10 of the most fundamental of these. Together, these focus on the importance of preserving public confidence in the evidence base underscoring public policy; being clear and concrete about the policy reforms you support; emphasising the values on which policy is based; understanding the structure, conventions and subtextual features of news reporting; developing 'killer facts' with 'earworm' potential; appreciating that the advocacy process leading to policy change almost always takes a long time; and growing a rhinoceros hide to assist in the inevitable attacks you will face.

MeSH terms

  • Consumer Advocacy
  • Humans
  • Mass Media
  • Public Health / methods
  • Public Health Administration / methods
  • Public Health Practice*
  • Social Media
  • Social Values