July 2003

They Say: ATP Graduates

CABWHP interviewed four graduates of the Advocate Training Program - Karen Anthony, Adesuwa Ogiamien, Gina Raymond- Embry and Lois Newell about their experience.

CABWHP: What made you want to be a part of the Advocate Training Program?

Karen: I was interested in learning more about policy issues.

Gina: Well, it.s funny how life evolves and unfolds like you need it to. I had been looking previously for opportunities to work with people who are committed to the issues in under served communities. So when I received the information on the Advocate Training Program it was ideal. I thought, .Wow this is interesting.  . Since I have been studying psychology and have been involved in the social sciences, I thought .how does one become involved in public policy issues?. This was the ideal opportunity for me to gain additional knowledge to enable me to apply my social studies background in a way that was going to influence public policy.

CABWHP: Has the training helped you? If yes how?

K: I learned how to advocate.

Adesuwa: The training has definitely helped me... By exposing me to legislative processes that exist in California and what you can do if you were interested or passionate about pursuing bills and legislation that affect the health of Black women and the delivery of healthcare for Black women. The different trainings and the different speakers who came in showed us what the legislative process was and what to do if we wanted to get a bill passed. G: The way it helped me most is by validating my observation, that there are other people out there that are interested and committed and concerned about the same things that concern me. Another way that it has been helpful is that it has successfully connected me and has provided me with a support group and additional resources. I know how to go about writing a press release now. I can actually sit down and generate goals and know how to go about achieving them. Lois: Yes, I know how to reach policy makers. to gather and read background information and learn how to approach policymakers.


The California Black Women's Health Project will soon begin training a new class of students for the Advocate Training Program (ATP). The ATP is a program that is designed to train women from the grassroots community to become effective health policy activists and advocates. The inaugural program in 2002-2003 was enormously successful. We anticipate that the 2003-2004 ATP will be equally (if not more) successful. The ATP focuses on advocacy that addresses the intersection between Black women's mental, emotional and physical health. The training program emphasizes skill-building so that participants learn community organizing and advocacy skills, including initiating and sustaining letter writing campaigns, writing press releases and becoming effective legislative advocates, in an interactive environment. The central focus of the ATP is to empower Black women who are not traditionally part of the policy advocacy arena to advocate for their health, the health of their families and the Black community. Graduates of the ATP will enhance and expand the network of activists, policymakers and leaders striving to improve the health of Black women in California.

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