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Holding Better Town Hall Meetings on Healthcare: 3 Articles You Are Welcome to Use

NCDD members have been sharing insights and tips–on our listservs and in various op-eds, blog posts, and more–on how legislators can engage citizens in ways that are more participatory and more productive than what we’ve seen in the news lately.

In addition to a colorful one-page handout we created for you to print and share with public officials and other leaders in your community, here are three articles we hope you’ll share widely:

1.  My full article (about 2.5 pages long in Word), titled “Upgrading the Way We Do Politics”
This version mentions a number of NCDD members, links to various op-eds, blog posts, etc. that our members have been writing in the past 2 weeks, and includes many ideas that have been shared on our main listserv.  Please consider sharing or linking to this article on your websites, blogs, facebook pages and groups, etc. www.thataway.org/?page_id=1663

A similar version of this article has been posted to the Yes! Magazine website at www.yesmagazine.org/democracy/upgrading-the-way-we-do-politics/ so feel free to link to that page as well.

2.  An abbreviated article (1 page in Word) that lists tips for legislators
This text can be used in letters or hand-outs to your Congresspeople and local public officials.  It’s also a more appropriate length than the full article for letters to the editor. www.thataway.org/?page_id=1659

This article is also available as a great-looking color PDF flyer that’s ready for you to print and share (thanks, Andy!).

3.  An abbreviated article (1 page in Word) that focuses on WHY we’re in the situation we’re in
This text can also be used for letters to the editor. www.thataway.org/?page_id=1661

Please use this text and these ideas freely. We need to get these ideas out there. I’m not concerned about my name being attached to the two shorter articles, but I would prefer you don’t remove the text about NCDD unless it’s absolutely necessary.

Each version lists the following resources as well, which I recommend to anyone interested in engaging the public in healthcare in more meaningful and substantive ways…

NCDD Members Directory: www.thataway.org/ncddnet
Find a facilitator or convening organization in your region.  Or contact ncdd@thataway.org for help finding someone.

NCDD’s Engagement Streams Framework: www.thataway.org/?page_id=1487
This free resource helps practitioners, community leaders and elected officials decide which public engagement methods are most appropriate for their circumstances and resources.

Core Principles for Public Engagementwww.thataway.org/pep
These seven principles were developed collaboratively by leaders in citizen engagement, and have been endorsed by over 50 organizations.

Discussion Guides on Healthcare
– Coping with the Cost of Health Care: How Do We Pay for What We Need? (National Issues Forums): www.nifi.org/issue_books/
– Citizens Survival Kit on Health Care (Public Agenda): www.publicagenda.org/citizen/electionguides/healthcare

Millions of Voices: A Blueprint for Engaging the American Public in National Policy-Making: www.americaspeaks.org/_data/n_0001/resources/live/millions_of_voices_1104.pdf
Offers a plan for National Discussions that will engage more than one million Americans in substantive deliberations about public issues.

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Sandy Heierbacher
Sandy Heierbacher co-founded the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation (NCDD) with Andy Fluke in 2002, with the 60 volunteers and 50 organizations who worked together to plan NCDD’s first national conference. She served as NCDD's Executive Director between 2002 and 2018. Click here for a list of articles and resources authored by Sandy.

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