264843 Engaging non-public health audiences to successfully communicate public health messages

Wednesday, October 31, 2012 : 9:00 AM - 9:15 AM

Alison Teitelbaum, MS, MPH , Public Health Communications and Policy Practice, The Cadmus Group, Inc., Arlington, VA
Amanda Greenberg, MSPH , Public Health Communications and Policy Practice, The Cadmus Group, Inc., Arlington, VA
Diana Degen, MSPH , Environmental Health Solutions, The Cadmus Group, Inc., Arlington, VA
Successfully distributing public health messages to their intended target audiences and achieving behavior change may require the engagement of non-public health intermediary audiences for message dissemination. In these instances, creating a tailored engagement messaging strategy is essential to ensuring effective message perpetuation. Two examples of this approach are described below. To support EPA's Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Tools for Schools Program, a diverse range of public school professionals were targeted to spread messages about the importance of improved IAQ in schools and adopting healthy IAQ management practices. Understanding each professional's role in school facility management, and occupant health promotion/management, was a critical step in designing effective communications materials for this group. Due in part to this approach, 51% of school districts nationwide have adopted an IAQ management plans to convey their results. Similarly, to support EPA's Indoor airPLUS program, professionals in the home building industry were targeted to disseminate messages about the negative health effects of poor IAQ in homes and for its residents. Messages designed to engage this audience were developed after careful evaluation of their specific needs and motivators for adopting healthy IAQ building practices. As a result, nearly 1,000 Indoor airPLUS partners have built 1,435 Indoor airPLUS homes to date, despite a slumping real estate market. Through this strategic engagement and message tailoring process, a wide range of non-public health audiences can be effectively engaged to perpetuate diverse public health messages to a variety of the target audiences.

Learning Areas:
Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Communication and informatics
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Other professions or practice related to public health
Program planning

Learning Objectives:
Describe how to strategically engage non-health professionals in order to perpetuate health messages and affect behavior change. Explain how to leverage non-health professionalsí roles as liaisons, communicators and actors within target populations for dissemination of effective messaging. Evaluate engagement and messaging strategy effectiveness to showcase results of targeting non-pubic health audiences.

Keywords: Communication, Federal Initiatives

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: In my current position as a consultant to EPA's Indoor Environments Division, I design, develop, implement and evaluate communications campaigns on a national level. I also have both an educational and professional background in public health communications and evaluation.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.