About Civic Health Month
Civic Health Month is a nationwide celebration held each
August to showcase the strengthening relationship between health care, healthy
communities, and civic participation. Over 200 hospitals, healthcare associations, and civic
engagement organizations unite to celebrate Civic Health Month each August. NASW-NJ has partnered with
Vot-ER to make it possible for social
workers, including those in private practice, to participate in Civic Health
Month activities, as well.
What Is Civic Health
Civic health describes the current capacity of a community to address issues that impact the well-being of its members. Research shows better overall community health occurs when civic health is high—when every citizen has a voice in the public policy decisions that affect their well-being.
While a variety of different metrics are used to assess overall civic health in a community, two that are especially relevant to social workers are voter registration and electoral participation rates. Improving civic health by increasing the number of engaged voters expands representation in shaping the policies that affect individual and community health and well-being. Empowering community members to register to vote and participate in elections is a critical action social workers and other health/mental health providers can take to improve not only community-level civic health, but also physical and mental health at the individual level. By checking in on these civic vital signs when talking to clients and colleagues, social workers can help promote better civic health in their communities and throughout our country.
From the settlement house movement in the 1920s to Human SERVE (Human Service Employees Voter Registration and Education Campaign) in the 1980s and to Voting is Social Work (National Social Work Voter Mobilization Campaign) today, social workers have encouraged people to vote. The profession has long understood that voter engagement increases individual well-being, promotes civic participation, and is essential to a robust democracy. Please join us as we continue this century-long tradition of our profession during Civic Health Month and throughout the year.