Designing communication strategies to support public health interventions is a multifaceted and complex skill. It requires careful preparation, logical thinking, creativity, and a solid foundation in theory and evidence. The planning process is highly creative and interactive, with no recipe to follow, but rather a set of interrelated issues to consider when developing a coherent and workable plan.
This program focuses on the development and execution of a communications strategy for a public health organization responsible for a community-based intervention, featuring a review of basic theory and research that informs the health communications process.
Participants will identify a public health intervention for which they want to develop a communication plan. They will also develop a communications strategy and prepare several media executions to advance that strategy, including 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.
The program is designed around a tutorial model, which relies heavily on individual work, group discussion, and multiple feedback opportunities. The lectures, brainstorming exercises, case studies, and readings are designed to inform and inspire and to provide a general framework for thinking about communications strategies. Ultimately the communication strategy and accompanying media executions are tailored to the chosen intervention and public health agency responsible for the intervention.
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 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.
An interest in strategic communication and developing media executions is required. Participants should be prepared to identify an intervention to use as the basis for the communication strategy at the beginning of the program.