|I'm starting a part 2 because the original diary is loading too slowly, also because I have a sense, by today, Tuesday Nov 6th, that many things that seemed impossible before may, WITH A LOT OF HARD WORK and PARTICIPATION FROM MANY MANY MANY MORE PEOPLE, become achievable within the coming months to the next year.
First an update on the Expo.
By today, the third day of the Expo, many things have settled down into a more predictable pattern.
People do walk by, regularly, on their way to and from the poster sessions and maybe the food court. Which is good.
Today, we put the fliers on the top of 2 stacked boxes (covered by the red tablecloth INSIDE the booth from yesterday's pic), moved them out near the aisle, and put a 'PLEASE TAKE ONE' sign on them. I did that just cos yesterday we really couldn't sit down because of people constantly walking by and us wanting to hand out fliers. As a result, (and this is such a SIMPLE thing that never occurred to us before, among many I'm sure) there were a lot more people (percentage wise) who paused just because they needed to stop long enough to decide whether they WANTED to take one!! (Which of course they did, overwhelmingly.) THAT is an important lesson for future reference!
A couple of us tried to give out fliers to people out in the lobby, but soon thereafter got told that that was not allowed. You are only allowed to give out fliers at your booth. ;-(
However, it would appear that other more creative solutions are being used as I write. I'm not completely in the loop, as the effort involved in writing up the ASPR stuff (which BTW are VERY IMPORTANT, please go read them, thanks!), and figuring out the definition of At-risk population, and how the heck the poll function works etc, took me away from doing the 'greeting and meeting'. The word from RM (and also my observation) is that the response is very positive. People are generally grateful we are doing this. There are requests for further information (in the binders), also for ALL of the presentation material, ie posters, displays etc. These latter requests often come from State and local health department people who want to bring this back to their department. They all think this is such a good idea, to get moms doing this kind of thing with their communities.
So, yes, definitely I am getting a sense that we ARE achieving what we came for, that state and local PH people will find our ideas and approaches useful, and will work to adopt these practices! Yes!
The important thing for me today, is the realization again early this morning, of how all different approaches can and do complement each other. As I was trying to formulate a question for ASPR, I realized our recent experiences have become the perfect backdrop for discussions at the national level, as to how specifically the next phase of pandemic policy development should evolve.
TPTB have been talking about public engagement and empowerment for so long, and we have been getting so much good feedback (both for FW over the past year and now ReadyMoms), that it is impossible to believe that they can continue to keep putting off ACTUALLY turning their words into reality. In other words, we are getting near the 'day of reckoning', so to speak, for whether or not tptb mean what they say.
As I said, I always prefer to give people the benefit of doubt, and assume good intentions, so now I/we can go into these meetings with the Feds (and others) with even more to share, and at the same time more 'ammunition' to hold them accountable.
Which is why the upcoming ASPR meeting is so important. Because not only is it an important meeting in itself (stakeholders' input on how to implement PAHPA from this point forwards), but I do hope and believe that we (ie grassroots initiatives) have gained sufficient credibility and acceptance, and have demonstrated sufficient value, to be a partner in reality as well as in name, that it is increasingly impossible to ignore our views.
How we utilize that position, is IMHO going to be an important challenge for us as a community. I have a feeling that, not immediately, but over time, there will be more and more opportunities and NEED for grassroots participation and contribution (aka WORK!!!). My suggestion for everyone on flublogia at this point, is to start considering HOW you can be part of that process, of facilitating change, at your community and beyond, and maybe start taking steps in anticipation of more opportunities opening up.
Spoken as the eternal optimist, of course. LOL
Pics (click to enlarge)