Accelerating Best Practices in Peer Support Around the World

Program Development Guide

How to Advocate

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1. Key Messages

2. Key Components of Effective Advocacy

3. How to Advocate


How to Advocate

Featured Resources
Call to Action and Guidelines for Quality Assurance and Credentialing of Community Health Worker Programs and Community Health Workers can help individuals and organizations to advocate for the uptake of peer supporters/ community health workers, and the programs.

As advocacy is becoming a widespread strategy, it is critical to select the right approach that ensures effective and appropriate to target audience. There are many groups out there that are doing great advocacy work on behalf of peer support and those that provide peer support. Advocacy at Peers for Progress focuses on educating decision-makers to achieve organizational and systems level changes. Our objective is to encourage the adoption of peer support programs, to establish sustainable funding for peer support programs, and to strengthen the peer workforce.

Successful advocacy focuses on the educating stakeholders and decision-makers on the benefits of peer support and reinforcing these appeals with personal success stories. Some advocacy strategies for peer support have been applied include:


Global Evidence of Peer Support: Humanizing Health Care

From an international conference hosted by Peers for Progress and the National Council of La Raza, this report provides strong evidence for the feasibility, reach and engagement, and effectiveness of peer support programs. The arguments in this document make a strong case for the scale-up and sustainability of peer support.


Making a Business Case

Although leaders may be interested in implementing peer support programs, they may be reluctant to take action unless provided with a strong business case. This resource, The Case for Peer Support in Diabetes Self-Management, may be a helpful start.


Peer Supporter Stories

Video: A Day in the Life of Peer Supporters

In this video, Peers for Progress followed a community health worker and a promotora de salud in Chicago who provide peer support to African Americans and Latinos living with type 2 diabetes.

Stories of program success, examples of individuals helped, and testimonies from peer supporters can be highly effective in promoting programs. Particularly, peer supporters/CHWs can be in a unique position to advocate for peer support program. They are from the same community and they share the same life experience as their participants; therefore, they can be the most influential people to help people understand what peer support is, and promote the peer support practice.

Tell Your Story – Personal Accounts of Peer Support features a selection of personal stories about individual and collective impact of peer support shared by of peer supporters, program staff, and recipient of peer support around the world.


Engaging the Skeptics – Showing Win-Win Scenarios

It is important to show how peer support programs are congruent with the goals of professionals while alleviating common misconceptions about the model. Testimonials from peer supporters, physicians and other health leaders are highly effective.


Advocacy through Social Media

Connecting with your community on social media is a great way to spread your message and broaden your reach at relatively low cost. Blogging about local events, creating short videos, and sharing useful resources can raise awareness about key issues that matter to you. See our advocacy video and Twitter channel for examples.

Tips of Advocacy via Social Media

Peers for Progress launched pilot strategies to disseminate and advocate peer support via social media tools such as blog and Facebook. Both tools have given Peers for Progress another opportunity to accomplish our mission goals of promoting peer support as a key part of health, health care, and prevention around the world and accelerating the availability of best practices in peer support. Specifically,

Facebook page provides highlights of local, national and international news stories related to peer support, funding opportunities published online and links to academic reports and presentations produced by other organizations and institutions. These stories are generally posted to draw attention and commentary and allow followers to get a complete story by following the link.

Idea Exchange Blog offers us an opportunity to develop our own unique content, express commentary on issues in the field of peer support, and provides a venue to comment on current topics in a format that allows quick publication. Compared to Facebook, blogs provide a more in depth look at peer support topics and issues and often cite a number of external news sources as part of a larger discussion.


NPSCLN Advocacy Toolkit

This toolkit may be used to advocate within your organization for developing and implementing a peer support program for chronic disease self-management.



CHW Advocacy Toolkit by the NPSCLN Sustainability and Advocacy Workgroup This toolkit assembles a set of resources (e.g., fact sheet, talking points, resources for digital advocacy, action steps, and case studies) that can be useful to change state and national policy to promote CHW/peer support program sustainability.
The World Health Organization’s Global Evidence of Community Health Workers (CHWs) Its executive summary has key messages on integration of community health workers at national level that can be used for advocacy.
State Advocacy Template to Reach Immigrant Populations with CHWs in Illinois by the NPSCLN Sustainability and Advocacy Workgroup This resource uses Illinois as a state example to illustrate why states should be concerned about the unmet healthcare needs of undocumented immigrant populations and reaching them with community health workers.
Examples of State and Local Integration of CHWs by the NPSCLN Sustainability and Advocacy Workgroup This document provides several example programs successfully executed in various states. This can be used to help guide other states in supporting CHW/peer support programs for immigrant and other populations.
AHRQ Policy Innovation: Minnesota CHW Alliance This document summarizes how the Minnesota Community Health Worker Alliance led the way for the passage of state legislation authorizing Medicaid payment for specific community health worker services provided under clinical supervision.
Lessons in State and Local Advocacy for Program Development: A webinar featuring Carmen Velásquez In this webinar, Ms. Velásquez discussed how community mobilization and advocacy contributed to the creation and continued success of Alivio Medical Center, a key partner and implementation site of the Peers for Progress peer support project in Chicago.
The University of Kansas Community Tool Box – Chapter 34: Media Advocacy This chapter shares the whys and hows of media advocacy that can be useful for peer support related activities.
The University of Kansas Community Tool Box- Chapter 33.19: Using Social Media for Digital Advocacy This resource introduces key steps and examples for using social media for digital advocacy.
Tell Your Story – Personal Accounts of Peer Support This document features a selection of personal stories about individual and collective impact of peer support shared by of peer supporters, program staff, and recipient of peer support around the world.


© 2015 | Peers for Progress

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