Other Group

Healthy Democracy Healthy People Initiative

Website:

https://www.healthydemocracyhealthypeople.org

Formerly:

VoteSAFE Public Health

Formation:

2020

Type:

Public Health, Voter Mobilization Coalition

Executive Director:

Jeanne Ayers

Healthy Democracy Healthy People Initiative (previously known as VoteSAFE Public Health) is a coalition of roughly a dozen public health, health care advocacy, civic engagement, and medical organizations to influence policymakers and influence the politics of public health and the handling of elections. The Initiative sought to introduce novel election processes for the 2020 elections to make voting “safe and healthy” in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. [1]

Background

Healthy Democracy Healthy People Initiative began as VoteSAFE Public Health, when health industry insiders and civic engagement nonprofits gathered to use COVID-19 to justify novel election conduct during the 2020 election. [2]

Activities

The Initiative has a “Health & Democracy Index” which makes data comparisons between public health conditions and voter turnout. Voter registration is one of the key concerns of the Initiative. It “explores innovative ways” to make voter registration easier, such as its proposed policy that people become automatically registered to vote through state Medicaid programs. [3]

Coalition Members

The following organizations are coalition members of Health Democracy Healthy People: [4]

  • American College of Preventive Medicine (ACPM)
  • American Public Health Association (APHA)
  • Association of Schools & Programs of Public Health (ASPPH)
  • Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO)
  • Big Cities Health Coalition (BCHC)
  • National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO)
  • National Network of Public Health Institutes (NNPHI)
  • Network for Public Health Law (NPHL)
  • Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB)
  • Trust for America’s Health (TFAH)
  • Society For Public Health Education (SOPHE)

Leadership

As of July 2022, health and racial equity specialist Jeanne Ayers was the executive director of Healthy Democracy Healthy People Initiative. She joined the Initiative in 2020, coming from a career of holding state government public health leadership roles such as Wisconsin state health officer and administrator of the division of public health, as well as the assistant commissioner and chief health equity strategist for the Minnesota Department of Health. She founded and directed the Center for Public Health Education and Outreach at University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health. Ayers believes that there are “social determinants” to health connected to “race, place, class, and power” and has had a long academic career researching healthcare equity. [5]

The Initiative is also operated by Jessica Barba Brown, the senior advisor, and Gnora Gumanow, the partnerships manager. Brown launched and directed We Can Vote, a left-of-center voter mobilization project of the New Venture Fund, in order to influence the 2020 election during the COVID-19 pandemic. Formerly, Brown was the CEO of the Voter Participation Center, another left-of-center voter mobilization group, and the managing director for the advocacy division at Planned Parenthood Federation of America. [6]

Gnora Gumanow, before joining the Healthy Democracy Healthy People Initiative, worked as the director of network capacity at Alliance for Youth Action advocating for “democracy reform and economic justice.” Before joining Alliance for Youth, Gumanow worked at Planned Parenthood Advocates of Oregon. [7]

References

  1.  “About Us.” Healthy Democracy Healthy People Initiative. Accessed 11 July 2022. https://www.healthydemocracyhealthypeople.org/about/. ^
  2. “About Us.” Healthy Democracy Healthy People Initiative. Accessed 11 July 2022. https://www.healthydemocracyhealthypeople.org/about/. ^
  3. “Resources.” Healthy Democracy Healthy People Initiative. Accessed 11 July 2022. https://www.healthydemocracyhealthypeople.org/resources/. ^
  4.  “About Us.” Healthy Democracy Healthy People Initiative. Accessed 11 July 2022. https://www.healthydemocracyhealthypeople.org/about/. ^
  5. [1] “About Us.” Healthy Democracy Healthy People Initiative. Accessed 11 July 2022. https://www.healthydemocracyhealthypeople.org/about/. ^
  6. “About Us.” Healthy Democracy Healthy People Initiative. Accessed 11 July 2022. https://www.healthydemocracyhealthypeople.org/about/ ^
  7. “About Us.” Healthy Democracy Healthy People Initiative. Accessed 11 July 2022. https://www.healthydemocracyhealthypeople.org/about/. ^
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