Communication Campaign
 1. Executive Summary
 2. Fact Sheets
 3. You Can Make a Difference
 4. Evaluation Form
 5. Key Messages
 6. Target Audiences
 7. Action List
 8. Evaluation Summary

Heart Health Partnership
Health Promotion and Chronic Disease Prevention Benefits Campaign
December 1999
Communication Plan


The Heart Health Partnership(1) (HHP) consists of 18 organizations including non-profit organizations, government agencies, and community groups and is currently working in the Western Region of the province. The mission of the HHP is "to work with communities and individuals in discovering and using effective ways to improve the heart health of Nova Scotians." The Heart Health Partnership has been working toward enhancing an infrastructure for health promotion at the community level (through existing structures), which will ultimately lead to improved cardiovascular health outcomes at the community level. The Partnership will demonstrate how to work with intersectoral partnerships to build skills, knowledge, and abilities to mobilize communities to improve overall health and wellness. 

Catalyzed by Heart Health Nova Scotia (HHNS), a cardiovascular disease prevention program, the HHP will act as model for other organizations, governments, and policy-makers concerned with improving the health of populations through preventive strategies. Research has shown that health promotion and disease prevention initiatives are effective and can help to reduce factors that lead to ill health (such as smoking, high fat diets, not being physically active, and high blood pressure). However, in order for these initiatives to be effective, resources (both human and financial) need to be allocated and policy decisions that will support these efforts need development.

The Heart Health Partnership is part of an international initiative, which involves 27 countries from Europe and Latin America, whose aim is to reduce risk factors that lead to chronic diseases. This program has been extremely successful in countries like Finland, where there is strong political leadership for reformation and improvements in the health system through promotion and prevention. Since the inception of this initiative in Finland in 1972, there has been a 72% decline in cardiovascular disease. This effort has also realized improvements in reduced cancer rates.

Governments have a large role to play in mobilizing existing community structures, which enhances a community's capacity to take control of their own health. Resources and policies need to be in place to sustain this effort in the long-term. The current Nova Scotia government has made a commitment to doing this and has launched an ambitious health system restructuring plan. As health promoters we want to ensure that the government is successful in doing this and that a balance is struck between acute care, health promotion and prevention initiatives. Individual and collective concerns need to be expressed so that the development of the provincial health policy reflects a broad definition of health care that includes health promotion and disease prevention as essential parts of creating a healthier Nova Scotia.

The Heart Health Partnership met to discuss strategies and key concerns facing the health sector as it relates to health promotion and chronic disease prevention. The following is a summary of the issues and the strategies the group feels need to be acted on in the upcoming months.

The time to participate is now. The Government will be making key decisions on the structure of the Province's health care programs over the next two months. Stakeholders know that the time is right to become involved so that they can help communities and the Government develop a plan that will meet the health concerns of Nova Scotians.

1. These partners include: Adult Education Section, Department of Education and Culture; Annapolis Valley Regional School Board; Canadian Cancer Society, Nova Scotia Division; Community Links; Family Studies Teachers Association; Heart and Stroke Foundation of Nova Scotia; Heart Health Nova Scotia; Nova Scotia Department of Health; Nova Scotia Dietetics Association; Nova Scotia Federation of Home and School Associations; Nova Scotia Home Economics Association; Nova Scotia Sport and Recreation Commission; Provincial Library, Nova Scotia Department of Education and Culture; Public Health Service, Western Regional Health Board; School of Nutrition and Food Science, Acadia University; Southwest Regional School Board; Western Regional Health Board; Women's Institute of Nova Scotia.

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Phase 1: November 26 - December 22, 1999
Window of Opportunity:
Much of what will become public policy for health care will be developed in the next six weeks. The Heart Health Partnership and others see this time frame as the window of opportunity for the next four years to move the benefits of health promotion and partnership programs forward.

Phase 11: December 22, 1999 - January 15, 2000
Critical Time Period - Pre-Budget:
This time frame provides additional time to reinforce the key messages communicated in Phase 1. This is a critical time period as the Government will be presenting the provincial budget in early February 2000. 

Phase 111: January 15, 2000, - March 31, 2001 
Keeping Health Promotion and Chronic Disease Prevention Benefits Front and Centre:
Funding for The Heart Health Partnership expires on March 31, 2001. Any and all opportunities to promote the program, its accomplishments and results should be maximized.

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To ensure communities in Nova Scotia and the government succeed in building a responsive, outcome-based and efficient health care system by investing in wellness, health promotion and chronic disease prevention initiatives.

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Primary Audiences:

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Action List

Action Deadline Responsibility
Meet with the Heart Health Partnership
   to discuss the needs and the goal for a public
   education initiative. Address key issues and
 November 24 Michelle LaVigne, Heart Health Partnership
Develop a Communication Plan for the Health
    Promotion Partnership Campaign
 December 2 Michelle LaVigne, Heart Health Partnership
Distribute Comm. Plan to Health Partners  December 9 Heart Health Nova Scotia
Develop Fact Sheet/Question and Answer: 
   A Pie Chart graph which outlines where the
   health care dollars go could be beneficial to
   the case
 December 9 Michelle LaVigne and Heart Health NS
Develop ways to promote the cause  December 9  Michelle LaVigne
Develop cover letter for MLAs  December 9 Michelle LaVigne
Develop media strategy plan  December 13 Michelle LaVigne, Heart Health NS
Media: Connect with all media contacts that
    heart health partners have association with
 December 7-10 Michelle LaVigne, Heart Health NS Partnership
Inform MLAs of the benefits of health
   promotion programs: include cover letter,
   fact sheet - i.e.; Neil Leblanc, Jamie Muir, Dr.
 December 22 and
Heart Health Partnership
Encourage supporters/Heart Health staff to
   submit an editorial on the benefits of health
   promotion - reinforce economic indicators
   and link them to benefits
 December 22 and
Heart Health Partnership
Share listing of MLAs with health partners
   (website address as well) encourage them to
   connect with their representative personally
 December 9 Heart Health NS
Encourage Heart Health Partners to promote
    health promotion in all of their internal and
    external communication vehicles
Faxes, newsletters, Christmas cards
 December 9 and
Heart Health Partnership
Develop a health promotion stamp and
   distribute it to health partner organizations
 December 9 Heart Health Partnership
Draft a resolution that promotes the aims
   and goals of health promotion
Declare January Health Promotion Month -
   have Premier endorse a proclamation
 Phase 11, after
 December 22
Heart Health Partnership
Upload all campaign materials to Heart
    Health website and encourage health
    partners to link their sites to it
 December 9 Heart Health NS
Develop and distribute evaluation pieces: i.e.,
   a "How did it Go"? form and activity support
 Phase 11, after
 December 22 and
Heart Health NS
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After the campaign has concluded a formal evaluation with the Heart Health Partnership will be conducted. Data, which should include an evaluation form and an activity sheet from each of the health partners will assist in assessing the success of this initiative. Media tracking measurements should be obtained so that a true and accurate reflection of PSA/Print/Interview/Broadcast coverage is presented. 

The following evaluation indicators have been established which will provide a benchmark for the success of this Campaign:

Government takes concrete steps to ensure health promotion and chronic disease prevention remain a priority (including no significant reduction in funding and support for health promotion programs and infrastructure) 
Involvement and support in the Heart Health Partnership's Communication Plan from the Heart Health Partners
Gain Media coverage for the this public education initiative
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