Communication Strategies in Public Health

  • This program closed on 07/03/2020.

Program Description

Designing communication strategies to support a public health intervention is a multifaceted and complex skill, which requires careful preparation, logical thinking, and creativity, at the same time being based in theory and evidence. There is no recipe to follow, but rather a set of interrelated issues to consider when developing a coherent and workable plan. The planning process is highly creative and interactive.  In order to produce a communication plan that is strategic, effective, and practical it requires collaborative thinking and thorough research. This program focuses on the development and execution of a planned communications strategy for a public health organization that is responsible for a community-based intervention.  The program also features a review of basic theory and research that can inform the health communications process.  Participants will identify a public health intervention for which they want to develop an accompanying communication plan.  Participants will also develop a communications strategy and prepare several media executions to advance the communications strategy, which may include a pitch letter with infographic, press release, commentary/editorial, letter to the editor/online blog, scheduled press event, social media platform (i.e., Twitter feeds, Facebook pages), interview, elevator pitch, video, and prototype of a mobile app. While the ultimate communication strategy has to support the chosen intervention in a targeted way and be feasible to implement given resources, learners will be exposed to a variety of communication techniques to apply to other interventions and contexts.


Participants will learn to:

  • Think strategically about the use of communications to advance a public health organization’s goals and objectives;
  • Identify the strengths and weaknesses of different communications options;
  • Provide a rationale for selecting a communications strategy, which is grounded in the available published literature and reflects both scientific and practical considerations;
  • Prepare a strategic plan for a focused communications strategy that is theory-driven, science-based, practicable, and evaluable;
  • Utilize a variety of communications tools, including pitch letters, press releases, commentaries and editorials, letters to the editor, blogs, mHealth, interviews, and scheduled press events.

Required knowledge/pre-requisites:

An interest in strategic communication and developing media executions.  Participants should come to class with an identified intervention to use as the basis for the communication strategy.  This intervention can be the one designed in the Intervention Strategies for Public Health program or can be an already-developed intervention being implemented in the field.

This is part two of a two-part program offering that will step learners through the design of a theory-driven, evidence-based, feasible, and evaluable intervention for a public health problem (Intervention Strategies in Public Health) and development of a communication strategy to support an already-established intervention (Communication Strategies in Public Health).  The programs, taken together or separately, are skills-based and arm learners with the ability to quickly respond to public health needs related to policy and program design and subsequent communication to support the policy or program developed and implemented.  While learners will use one intervention as the basis for the programs, the skills acquired will be transferable to a variety of public health problems and contexts. The two programs are designed to be either completed together in sequence such that the intervention program lays the foundation for the communications program, or separately such that each program can function as an independent experience.

Program Information


Communication Strategies in Public Health