2005 Conference - Tuesday Concurrent Sessions 5
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Tuesday, October 18, 2005

2:00 PM – 3:30 PM     Concurrent Sessions  (5)

Abstracts

TransFormation:  Collaborating with Diverse and Marginalized Communities to Make Systemic Change, Maria Hudspith, Director, Community Engagement, and Joshua Goldberg, Education Consultant, TransCare Project, Vancouver Coastal Health  
Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) is one of five health regions in the province of British Columbia, Canada.  VCH is one of a handful of regional health authorities in Canada that works within a Community Engagement (CE) Framework, and that has a dedicated team responsible for embedding public participation approaches in the core work of the organization.  This presentation tells the story of an unlikely partnership between VCH and a community of transgender activists; the term transgender refers to a person with a gender identity that is different from their birth sex or who expresses their gender in ways that contravene societal expectations of the range of possibilities for men and women. Through an innovative, collaborative effort between VCH and transgender community organizers, a very diverse and marginalized community played a key role in redesigning health services, developing policy and re-writing clinical guidelines for care. 

Strengthening Democracy:  Training Citizen Leaders in South Africa, Dolores Foley, Associate Professor, Department of Urban and Regional Planning, University of Hawaii at Manoa; Mpho Putu, Institute For Democracy in South Africa  
The Citizen Leadership for Democratic Governance is a program of the Institute for Democracy in South Africa (IDASA).  South Africa recently celebrated ten years of democracy but there is a recognition of the need to equip citizens to more effectively respond to the challenges of creating and sustaining democracy. Initially IDASA did widespread civic education programs throughout South Africa but in the last few years has concentrated efforts on developing citizen leaders.  This training program is designed to develop the leadership capacity of emerging and existing leaders in civic organizations in selected areas in South Africa.  The program develops citizen leaders through a multifaceted effort involving skill development, linking participants with mentors, government officials, and other community leaders and utilizing their skills in community projects.  The assumption is that an in depth, experientially structured program is required in order to create citizen leaders that can transfer the democratic knowledge, values and skills into effective and responsible leadership in their communities. 

Café:  Natural Resources Public Outreach

The New Mexico State Water Plan:  Public Involvement Success, Tim Murrell, New Mexico Interstate Stream Commission
This upbeat session will introduce registrants to the highly effective public involvement process of the New Mexico State Water Plan.  Through a series of 29 public meetings throughout the State of New Mexico, the New Mexico Interstate Stream Commission reached thousands of citizens and provided them with a unique opportunity…to shape state water policy.  The public involvement process came at a time when New Mexico residents were living through the7th year of below average precipitation.   Citizens witnessed first hand the signs of drought as entire communities lost their drinking water supply due to wells running dry, endangered species perished due to poor river flows, and native vegetation began to disappear exposing soil to wind erosion.   Though dry times were abundant, creativity and solutions flowed from participants of all walks of life. The session will walk participants through the complexities and victories associated with this unique and unprecedented public involvement process.

Washington State’s Water Quality in Port Susan and the Stillaguamish Watershed.  Water Quality – Benefits of Public Involvement, DouGlas Palenshus and Ann Butler, Washington State Department of Ecology
Learn about why a state agency believes that good public involvement contributes to clean water and the avenues taken to achieve involvement.  This presentation provides information about efforts of the Washington State Department of Ecology (Ecology) to involve members of Washington communities in ongoing activities to clean up significant problems in a major Northwest river system. Innovations and special considerations have resulted in some success on this project and other professionals working in community involvement may be interested in what drove the unique approaches taken and an under-the-hood view of how Ecology's moderately successful (and getting better at) public involvement practices work. 

Winning Minds to Water Reuse:  The Road to NEWater, Linda MacPherson, CH2M Hill
This presentation will examine the remarkable marriage of advanced technical work with a carefully crafted public education and outreach strategy, culminating in the opening of the NEWater Visitor Centre in Singapore.   The NEWater Visitor Centre illustrates how technology and public understanding can be successfully aligned to build community understanding and support of water reuse technologies and their benefits.  Experiences in the United States and elsewhere had shown that public understanding of water reuse often fails due to the stigma associated with used wastewater.   Registrants will learn that reframing public understanding about water, the water cycle and technology through innovative communication strategies, visual images, and computer programs is a key to aiding public understanding for what is universally recognized as one of the most difficult public perception issues.   

“Not Just The Usual Suspects - Recruiting Techniques From A Pro”, Michael Riley,  President, Riley Research Associates  
Even seasoned public participation professionals are often frustrated by the challenge of getting the “Average Joe” to attend informational meetings.  If you’ve looked out across the audience to see more empty chairs than faces, or worse yet, the same faces who attended last week’s meeting, or worse yet, virtually no one besides your own staff… Mike Riley may have some new ideas and tips you can use. Research Associates has developed a unique process of public participation that actively reaches out to residents, using scientific sampling and professional recruiting techniques more commonly used in the private sector.  Modifying this method to address public participation allows organizations to hear from that elusive “representative cross-section” of the community. Riley’s techniques can enhance your chances of hearing from your desired audience, while potentially reducing the number of “special interests” represented.

Presentations:

New Approaches to Analysing Data and Evaluating Community Engagement Programs, Allison Hendricks, Consultation Manager, Sinclair Knight Merz
This session will present some of the deficiencies in current best practice in relation to analysis, evaluation and reporting of data and reporting of data and discuss how they can be overcome through use of new technologies such as the software program Darzin.  This workshop will provide a "how to" based in experience, with the presentation of an overall framework and principles, software application and case study.

Solving For Scale:  Using the Internet to Facilitate Large-Scale Public Dialogue, Alexandra, Samuel, PH.D 
We’ve known for a long time that there is lots of spontaneous public engagement in the world – people voicing or expressing their political views without being asked. The difficulty has been in channeling that “found” engagement into formal decision-making or policy processes. The Internet provides that opportunity by creating an electronic record of a wide range of spontaneous political conversations and acts, as we will see through a brief introduction to hacktivism (political computer hacking) and blogging. Learn how to capture the power of spontaneous engagement in your own work with a practical demonstration of how the latest generation of free blog aggregation tools can channel the grassroots energy of bloggers into structured policy processes.

Presentations: 

The Place of Public Participation in the Social Impact Assessment Process, Rabel J. Burdge, Professor of Sociology and Environmental Studies, Western Washington University
This session will illustrate the use of social impact assessment (SIA) at the community and project level to help public participation practitioners, planners, change agents, elected officials and concerned citizens understand likely future change in their community as a result of project implementation or policy change. After a brief definition of and the differences between social impact assessment (SIA) and public involvement (PI), the session will outline the place of public involvement in each of the steps of the SIA (and as appropriate the EIA) process. Next the SIA scoping process is outlined (and the place of PI in it) as a way to identify likely social impacts (issues) based on past research and assessments of similar project and policy changes. The session includes a brief discussion of the 28 social impact assessment variables which I use to explain change in a variety of project/policy settings. We conclude with the place of public involvement in the mitigation and enhancement process for a representative project.

Public Participation In Health Policy Planning For the Medically Uninsured:  A Case Study from Missouri, Sandra Hodge Ph.D, State Public Policy Specialist; Beverly Tremain,Ph.D.,CHES, Project Director Missouri HRSA State Planning Grant;, Gwen Ratermann, Associate Director, Center for Health Policy, University of Missouri-Columbia
Learn how public forums used deliberation to gather input from Missourians across the state on issues related to the medically uninsured.  Over 400 people in 7 regions in Missouri, participating in 21 forums, shared their concerns.  All forums were held within a 2 month period and involved partnerships with a number of organizations.  Topics covered will be the development of a discussion guide for the forums, the process used to convene and moderate the forums and the report that is being produced for state legislators

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