Media advocacy: a strategy for advancing policy and promoting health

Health Educ Q. 1996 Aug;23(3):293-317. doi: 10.1177/109019819602300303.


The purpose of media advocacy is to promote public health goals by using the media to strategically apply pressure for policy change. It provides a framework for moving the public health discussion from a primary focus on the health behavior of individuals to the behavior of the policymakers whose decisions structure the environment in which people act. It addresses the power gap rather than just the information gap. Media advocacy focuses on public policy rather than personal behavior. This article uses two case studies to illustrate key aspects of media advocacy. The first is a 5-year statewide violence prevention initiative for young people in California. The second focuses on the activities of a mothers' group working to improve public housing. The "new public health," with its focus on participation, policy development, and political processes, could benefit from incorporating media advocacy.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • California
  • Community Participation / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Female
  • Health Planning / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Health Policy / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Health Promotion / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Health Services Needs and Demand / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mass Media / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Program Evaluation
  • Public Housing / trends
  • Violence / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Violence / prevention & control