UGA’s Center for Health and Risk Communication is committed to ensuring that its research and development efforts are utilized to improve practice in public health communication. Accordingly, we have produced a variety of multimedia materials directed toward professional development. As an introduction to applying research findings to communication practice, see our webcast on “Lessons Learned.”
Based on the conviction that communication pervades all public health roles—and is not just the domain of designated health communicators—some of these materials are intended for use by all public health workers—from sanitarians to policy analysts. The five communication skills modules thus provide guidance in such basic communication activities as writing news releases or participating in public meeting, skills which enhance the competence of any public health worker.
Evidence suggests that effective health and risk communication is a crucial mechanism for reducing health disparities. Consequently, several of our materials focus on communicating with groups that suffer from health disparities in our nation. Among those materials are webcasts about establishing liaisons with Latino communities, about tailoring websites to Latino audiences and about collaborating with African American faith-based organizations in planning response to pandemics. Other materials relevant to vulnerable populations offer guidance to health communicators working with older adults including the homebound. View Associated Older Adult Health Literacy Toolkit.
Communication is certainly central to emergency response. Agencies and individuals responding to natural or human-made disasters must of course know how to communicate with their community members. But they must also know how to communicate among themselves in order to deploy resources in a coordinated fashion. CHRC exercises and guidance materials address both of those aspects of emergency communication.
Communication practice improves only when health communicators systematically collect evidence regarding the effects of their messages and interactions, and then modify future efforts on the basis of that evidence. While it is sometimes tempting to put message evaluation on the back-burner and to proceed to full-scale message development and dissemination, it is ultimately more cost effective to conduct formative message evaluation relatively early in the process. Health communication practitioners can find CHRC materials that explain how to conduct formative message evaluation easily and at small expense.