Case study

This case study from the Alabama Comprehensive Cancer Control Coalition models a receptivity to change with: compelling data; a group of committed stakeholders; and a willingness and readiness to learn and integrate social movement thinking and actions.   

Case study: The Alabama Comprehensive Cancer Control Coalition

The Alabama Comprehensive Cancer Control Coalition

In Alabama, United States, a public health community coalition targeting breast and cervical cancer prevention engaged in grassroots advocacy to influence policy and legislation for smoke-free spaces (Wynn et al., 2011).

This coalition was made up of local stakeholders, including an interdisciplinary committee of government officials, faith-based organizations, academics, researchers and volunteers. Their collective efforts were effective in part because the people involved were receptive to change. 

In particular, there was a strong impetus for change caused by these concurrent factors:

  • data showing an unequal burden of cancers among Black Americans due in part to higher rates of tobacco use and second-hand smoke exposure.
  • recognition that the risk of cancers could be lowered by: implementing evidence-informed strategies,; increasing public awareness and advocacy; and promoting healthy public policy.  
  • the coalition’s commitment to creating social change by improving the health and well-being of the community to achieve positive health outcomes.
  • public support for the establishment of legislated smoke-free areas, evident from the results of local and national Gallup polls.
  • an understanding of the powerful impact of social movement actions to create change.

This receptivity to change led the coalition to engage in social movement actions. They became empowered by learning strategies to lead change; they realized the power of their collective voices and mobilized actions. They felt their actions were timely and needed due to the data indicating rising cancer levels amongst Black Americans. They were committed to taking action to address and rectify health inequities.                

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