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New guide highlights effective preparedness communication.

FROM FOODBORNE-illness outbreaks to earthquakes to oil spills and beyond, communicating the importance of public health preparedness and its role in Americans' daily lives is essential to preventing and responding to public health threats. To help public health professionals communicate the importance of public health preparedness more effectively, APHA is offering a media and messaging guide.

Released in January, "Communicating Public Health Preparedness Media and Message Guide" will help public health professionals and their partners craft consistent messages and communications about public health preparedness. Produced in collaboration with Qorvis Communications and funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the free guide identifies messages that will likely resonate with important audiences and offers tips on how to deliver those messages.

"Our hope is that the guide melds public health expertise with sound principles of public communication, so that proponents of public health preparedness can improve their persuasiveness when discussing the subject with members of the public, elected officials or the media, who may be unfamiliar with it," said APHA Chief of Staff Arlene Stephenson, MAS. "We're hoping it will be widely disseminated."

Consistency in messaging is essential to ensure that the importance of emergency preparedness is communicated with reporters, policymakers and the public, according to the guide, which was produced based on input gathered at a summit held at APHA's Washington, D.C., head - quarters in November.

The guide encourages public health professionals to convey messages in their own words, and offers real - world situations to help readers understand the critical role emergency preparedness plays.

With budget cuts threatening the ability to respond properly to health emergencies, communicating the importance of public health preparedness and the role it plays in Americans' lives is critical, according to the guide.

The guide builds on previous work conducted by CDC's Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response and brings together the work of five core national organizations: the Association of Public Health Laboratories, the Association of Schools of Public Health, the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, the National Association of County and City Health Officials and Trust for America's Health.

To download the guide, visit www.apha.org/advocacy/reports/reports. For more information, email arlene.stephenson@apha.org or call 202 - 777 - 2441.
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Author:Johnson, Teddi Dineley
Publication:The Nation's Health
Date:Mar 1, 2012
Words:374
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