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3 ways communication drives public health outcomes

Communication plays a pivotal role in public health. From disease prevention, to helping parents provide healthy meals for their children, effective public health outreach can have a life saving impact on communities.

Today’s public health teams have more choices than ever when it comes to tools to reach their audiences, but some agencies have found unique ways to gain traction in their efforts to drive positive change, enhance public awareness and ultimately improve public health.

Here are three ways health teams across the county are successfully driving outcomes with effective communication strategies.

#1 San Diego County increases awareness around mental health

San Diego County Health and Human Services aimed to reduce stigma around mental illness and encourage those struggling with mental illness to seek help with their “It’s Up to Us” campaign. Using a multi-channel communication strategy encompassing broadcast (TV, radio, billboards) and more targeted methods (email, print, social media), the county successfully executed an 18 month campaign to help break down stereotypes about mental illness and encourage more people to feel comfortable seeking help from healthcare providers.

#2 King County helps educate and enroll uninsured patients

King County helps educate and enrollIn 2013, King County launched an innovative 2-way texting program, making it easier to find in-person help to learn how to get health coverage through Washington’s health benefit exchange website. Using interactive text messaging, people could text “KING” plus their zip code to 468311 and get information about opportunities for help with enrolling in health insurance in their area.

Where the Internet and traditional media fell short, text messaging filled in the gaps for King County, making information more readily available and accessible to a wider audience than would be possible by using only traditional media channels.

#3 Minnesota Dept. of Health increases access to newborn screening information

MDH increases access to newborn screening Minnesota is a national leader in newborn screening, a crucial step to ensuring healthy babies through early detection of serious but often-asymptomatic disorders. Minnesota’s Newborn Screening Program works with hospitals, providers, and parents to ensure that newborn screening is explained and well understood by doctors and parents before babies are born, making full participation more likely across the state. The department uses a two-pronged communications approach to ensure maximum compliance with the program, offering print and digital resources to both parents and providers with tailored messaging aimed specifically at their two core audiences. Minnesota Department of Health’s goal is for all parents to feel informed about newborn screening prior to delivery, and that 100% of providers feel equipped to discuss newborn screening with their patients during the third trimester.

Looking for more information on how public health teams are enhancing public awareness and improving participation in their programs? Join us March 25th for our Public Health Checkup webinar, co-hosted by the Minnesota Department of Health.