This is the "Home" page of the "Local Government and Methods of Civic Engagement : Public Health Issues, Policies, and Initiatives" guide.
Alternate Page for Screenreader Users
Skip to Page Navigation
Skip to Page Content

Local Government and Methods of Civic Engagement : Public Health Issues, Policies, and Initiatives   Tags: ur, urban studies  

examine city government, using Philadelphia as a case study and focusing on public health as an area through which the policies and initiatives of the city government have an impact
Last Updated: Jul 22, 2014 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

Home Print Page

local government: a variety of possible lessons


1. local government: what we need: brief description

   a.The instructor will lead students in a discussion of what the population of a city needs and what role they think government should play. Then students will come up with a proposal for a government that would meet the needs of the population of a city. Students can use the following steps:

      i. brainstorm needs of an urban population (What do people need to be safe, happy, and healthy?)

      ii.with certain parameters and requirements provided by the instructor, students will propose a local government

      iii. students will then investigate how their proposal compares to existing Philadelphia government using Philadelphia gov website

2. local government in the news: brief description:

   a. have students gather local news stories and sort stories into categories (e.g. public safety, transportation, economic development and business...)

   b. assign students categories and have them research the services provided by local government in their category and complete a written assignment conveying what they learned as well conveying the information to the class in some way

   c. inspired by assignment from“Make Your PLACE” (pg 64) .

3. local government straight from the source: brief description

   a. The instructor may also choose to invite someone who works in Philadelphia city government come to class and give presentation on their work and how it fits into the larger city government. The instructor may also ask this person to discuss civic engagement.



Thank you so much to Chelsea Koehler and Michelle Hu, who contributed significantly to the creation of this lesson plan!


public health: policies and programs

1. brief description: introduce students to some examples of government policies and and initiatives related to public health and how the government works with other organizations to achieve public health goals

   a. The instructor will break students into groups and have them all research an issue of public health in Philadelphia-chosen by the instructor. Students will be given several resources to explore and will be tasked with writing a short report describing the impact of the issue and who is affected, as well as what types of action are being taken by the city government and/or other groups to improve this issue, and what is the impact of this action. One possible issue would be food access and affordability. For examples of possible resources related to the issue of food access and affordability, see below:

    1. State of Hunger: 2013 – report prepared by the Coalition Against Hunger:

    2. Children's HealthWatch and Drexel University Center for Hunger Free Communities: Info on SNAP:

    3. Philadelphia City Government: Food Resource Guide:

    4. Philadelphia Department of Public Health: Healthy Eating and Active Living 2011-12 Report : (use this as opposed to more recent report because this one focuses more on food access)

                     >see Philadelphia Public Health Report reading guide in Materials

    1. article on Drexel's Witness to Hunger Program:

    2. mapping hunger in Philadelphia:

    3. satire article from The Onion on issue of hunger and access exactly-a-gamechang,35388/

   b. Students may also regularly visit sites related to an issue of hunger-such as a

community garden or nearby food pantry or soup kitchen to volunteer and to

interview people who work there or use the services.

      i. e.g. Face to Face, Holsey Temple Soup Kitchen, St. Lukes Food Pantry

  c. Students may present their reports in a variety of forms. For instance, formal

written reports, class presentations, or blogs.


final project: planning for action

1. brief description: students will learn about legislation related to an issue of hunger in Philadelphia (perhaps the same issue which students learned about in B-public health policies and programs) and how citizens can impact such legislation, and then students will coordinate an action step to support or protest the legislation

   a. Students will research an issue about which there is legislation. Students should examine the legislation itself, research who is involved in creating it, and think about the possible impact of the legislation. For examples of possible resources related to general legislation as well as the issue of food access and affordability, see below:

      i. For information on current food policy issues, the Greater Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger is a great resource (explore website or contact).

      ii. general legislation sources

         >City of Philadelphia Legislation Search Page:

         >Pennsylvania Legislation Search Page:

      iii. food policy issue example: SNAP in Philadelphia-Asset Test:

         >legislation : urging Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare State to reconsider Asset Test (see Materials)

             >>sponsored by Councilmember Jones, Councilmember Johnson, Councilmember Reynolds Brown, Councilmember Bass, Councilmember Blackwell, Councilmember Quiñones Sánchez


            >>information on the asset test in Pennsylvania from Coalition Against Hunger:

            >>article from on the asset test >

   b. Students will break into small groups to develop a list of points for or against the legislation. Students will come together as a class with their points and create a declaration. Students will then promote their declaration among the school population however they see fit. Students will then take some sort of action step to communicate their declaration to legislators-with the power of the student body behind them.

      i. For example, students could organize a letter-writing campaign, writing letters to send to legislators and inviting other students to write letters based on the information that the students provide on the issue, that could then be sent in a group.


Loading  Loading...