Protecting Public Health Authority & Advocacy Toolkit

This toolkit was created based on the technical assistance requests of APHA affiliates working to protect public health authority in their states. These resources can be shared with affiliate membership, advocates, and partners, or used to support affiliate activities. This toolkit is designed to equip users with resources they need to support an effective advocacy campaign to protect public health.

Fact sheets on public health authority

These fact sheets can be shared with your community members, new partners and even decision makers. 

What is Public Health Authority: This FAQ page is a great place to start learning more about public health authority

Changelab Solutions and LSSC fact sheet- an emerging threat to public health authority: This fact sheets goes over what preemption is and how it operates 

Preserving Local Public Health Powers: These two fact sheets describe why protecting public health authority is important specifically for community health

Public Health Authority: Dangerous for Public Health | NACCHO: Brief history of public health authority and overview of forces seeking to limit PH authority, the guide illustrates specific laws, and key arguments to counter proposed legislation 

Communications tools and strategies

These communications tools can equip you with the messaging strategies and materials you need to effectively advocate for public health within your networks, communities and with elected officials. 

Local Solutions Support Center Digital Toolkit – Helping Organizers Execute Campaigns Using Online Tools

This toolkit has customizable and bilingual email campaigns, graphics and web page content and includes best practices for using these platforms for advocacy. 

Making the Case for Public Health Authority: This training and related resources from BMSG and ChangeLab solutions can help you craft impactful messages about public health to whomever you’re communicating with Worksheet: Message Development

These messaging toolkits from Local Solutions Support Center can help you craft strategic messages on the impact of abusive state preemption based on your audience

Championing Public Health Amid Legal and Legislative Threats: Framing and Language Recommendations: Berkeley Media Studies Group and ChangeLab Solutions created framing and language recommendations to craft strategic messages to different audiences 

Becoming Better Messengers: View this detailed messaging guide from the Network for Public Health Law that includes guidance on the fiscal argument for public health, along with guidance on how to communicate about COVID 

The Voices for Healthy Kids Campaign Resource Library has lots of ready to share content on preemption (you can filter by priorities and select preemption): 

The FrameWorks Institute created communications strategies to help reframe key topics related to public health practice

Watch the framing 101 video series from the FrameWorks Institute to perfect your message framing for data, solutions and storytelling

The Collaborative on Media and Messaging developed communications strategies and background on key issues around public health advocacy including communicating about health equity, and navigating polarized conversations 

The Public Health Communications Collaborative has 

CDC’s Health Equity Guiding Principles for Inclusive Communication “[helps] public health professionals ensure their communication work, including communication of public health science, meets the specific needs and priorities of the populations they serve and addresses all people inclusively, accurately, and respectfully.”

Marketing Public Health Training provides “strategies for communicating with those stakeholders in order to support your broader program and organizational goals.

Using Strategic Messaging and Framing to Motivate Others to Support Public Health This is a self-paced course. This is the third of three courses on Public Health Reaching Across Sectors (PHRASES). This course focuses on how to use strategic messaging tools simultaneously with framing tools to motivate cross-sector partners and other non-public health experts to support public health interventions, programs, and policies. The strategic messaging tools that are explored include unique value proposition, narrative structure, one-minute messages, and the public health story map.

Engaging partners with a variety of differing views

Finding Commonalities and Solutions With Decision-Makers This guide created by VfHK and Met Group is a comprehensive message development and advocacy tool that draws messaging strategies from four key conservative archetypes.

Voices for Healthy Kids (VfHK) preemption messaging guide: The guide includes insight on audience motivations and concerns, tested language, and recommendations messages

LSSC messaging frames to discuss preemption with a variety of audiences, including conservative audiences: These frames provide guidance on how to discuss the impacts of preemption with organizers, lawmakers, and other audiences  

Community Health Partnerships: tools and info for development and support: This toolkit, developed by the National Business Coalition on Health, ASTHO and NACCHO, has great insight on how to engage with businesses. While the whole toolkit has great information, skip to page 14 for the section on how public health officials can build partnerships with businesses; and to page 20 to learn more about what motivates the business sector. 

VfHK: Building relationships: Across the United States, local governments have developed and implemented innovative solutions to improve their communities. Local governments were the first to pass indoor smoke-free laws before states. Now the ability for these laws is at risk. Advocate for local governments throughout this toolkit.

CDC’s “Communicating during an outbreak or public health investigation”

Legislative and litigation tracking

These legislative and litigation tracking databases and summaries are great resources to look back on trends in the 2022 session, and to use moving forward into the 2023 session.

Tracking databases 

  • State Public Health Legislation Database National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) brings you up-to-date, real-time information about bills related to public health that have been introduced in the 50 states and the District of Columbia
  • LSSC legislative tracking view the latest updates about abusive preemption legislation
  • Public Health Litigation Tracking Act for Public Health’s, Public Health Law Watch tracks public health authority-related litigation, view an archive of the weekly litigation tracking updates from the 2022 session, and sign up to receive updates


Protecting Local Democracy: 2023 Legislative Session Overview This report from LSSC gives an overview of the 2023 state legislative session specifically as it relates to preemption.

Looking ahead

Join the Act for Public Health email list for monthly litigation tracking reports!

Advocacy Strategies

These advocacy resources provide useful strategies to consider in your advocacy approach, and that you can share with your members and partners or share with potential new advocates.

Recorded Session Advocacy Basics: one-hour webinar, hosted by APHA and ChangeLab Solutions, aims to help new and seasoned advocates understand the general ethics and legalities related to lobbying and advocacy. Defines, explains, shares exceptions, provides examples, and offers additional advocacy resources.

Model public health authority act
Check out this model act that can serve as a starting point or model policy that you might be able to enact in your state. This model act focuses on the governor’s authority as it relates to public health emergency orders.

Blueprint for Changemakers Check out this guide from ChangeLab Solutions to help your state implement policies and laws that achieve health equity

Policy Process Evaluation for Equity Explore this resource from ChangeLab Solutions for policy evaluation through the tobacco prevention policy lens

The Evolution and Innovation of Combating Abusive Preemption: This recorded session, hosted by LSSC and VfHK, provided a unique opportunity to learn from veteran preemption coalition leaders and from our network of local, state, and national organizers and advocates, policymakers, and legal experts as we prepare for preemption fights in 2023. You can access the recording here (Passcode: %g8v1qcg), along with slides from the session.

Power Prism explores many different “power tools” including media advocacy, coalition building and maintenance, decision-maker advocacy, data collection and more!

Preserving Local Public Health Powers: How to resist policy efforts to limit public health authority: These 2 fact sheets created by ChangeLab Solutions explain how communities can identify, understand, and resist potential legislative and other legal limitations on local public health powers

Advocacy Toolkit: This guide developed by NACCHO has all you need to know about advocacy, including key dates in the lawmaking calendar

Building Your Advocacy Toolbox: Advocacy vs. Lobbying: This guide from NACCHO can help you distinguish advocacy and lobbying

Advocacy for Public Health: Explore APHA curated resources on advocacy for public health, find ways to take action and stay informed about key advocacy priorities

Digital Toolkit – Helping Organizers Execute Campaigns Using Online Tools: This toolkit from Local Solutions Support Center includes ready to use email templates, content calendars and social media and web content to support your advocacy campaign. 

Community Toolkit for Addressing Health Misinformation This toolkit from HHS is a comprehensive guide to addressing health misinformation, which you can share with your advocates so they know how to find and address misinformation.

Six Ways to Boost Public Support for Prevention-Based Policy, provides “Communications strategies for advocates, activists, and researchers who want to build support for preventative approaches to solving social problems.”

Take a look at the advocacy webinars series for Affiliates and their members to learn more about advocacy tools, including: 


These resources and reports give a good overview of where public health stands, and a window into the current advocacy landscape across states.

  • Check out this report for analysis of the current state-level capacity for advocacy across states, and for recommendations on how we move forward to strengthen that capacity

Search and Browse the complete Public Health Authority and Advocacy Toolkit here.

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