Ariana Childs Graham is the Program Director for the Global Health Advocacy Incubator’s Road Safety Program. You can follow her on Twitter at @achildsgraham.
First things first: what drew you to GHAI, and to road safety as an issue area?
I was drawn to the way that GHAI supports civil society advocates in driving meaningful change for public health at the country level. Advocacy is a team sport and it’s important to be clear on the value of the contribution each player is making to that collaboration. This includes knowing when to be the lead and went to play a supporting role.
I’m committed to addressing the social, economic, and environmental determinants of health and have been steeped in efforts to strengthen primary healthcare systems and achieve universal health coverage over the last five years. Improving road safety is a natural extension of that work centered on people’s integrated lived experiences and not single-issue silos.
How do you view advocacy’s role in advancing public health?
Advocacy is about building bridges between constituencies and decision-makers, deepening understanding of what matters most and charting a roadmap for action that leads to impact. It’s an expression of care and concern centered on the inherent worth and dignity of all people that leads to meaningful change in their lives.
What are some of the best lessons you’ve learned during your time working in advocacy?
Patience has often been my best ally. When faced with pressing issues that seem to demand immediate remedy, I try to focus on the next right step. Advocacy is both an art and a science, there are proven methods that can achieve sound and lasting results. Trusting in the process, listening and engaging in dialogue with partners and knowing how to see when a course correction is an order are fundamental steps.
How do you like to spend your free time? Any hobbies to share?
I meet once a week for an early morning walk with a colleague and now friend. We’re out there whether it’s cold and icy, raining or the sun is shining. We keep showing up for each other. It’s a discipline that translates to advocacy partnerships as well: continuing to show up for each other no matter what the weather brings.