health communications resources – part 1
Sometimes I forget what I like using as references for my work and what I prefer referring to for advice when I’m in a bind, doing health education/communications work, and what I don’t, but here are some resources for those of you who may or may not be in the Health Education field but still need to make materials that you’re hoping someone other than yourself or your superiors will understand. (Correct, that sentence was not meant to be readable).
But what are health communications?
The National Cancer Institute and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention define Health Communications as:
The study and use of communication strategies to inform and influence individual and community decisions that enhance health.
Read about it, and get some more info about some specific CDC prevention campaigns, as well as a bigger list of resources than I’d ever be able to give you at:
But today I have a few comments about a quick place to start: online are many government-sponsored booklets (they after all, have been doing this stuff for years).
The CDC has an aptly named booklet called Simply Put. Provides very appropriate instructions and examples on how you might write, organize, and modify text to make it more accessible to diverse populations. Includes readability scoring instructions at the end too! The PDF may be 48 pages long, but hey, the majority of them are blank pages and tons of white space (good for readability!)
National Cancer Institute (NCI) has the Pink Book (Making Health Communication Programs Work), which I’d never heard of (although I think it may have been mentioned in my courses and I just didn’t know what it meant, and promptly forgot). It quite literally is a pink book, if you have an older print version. This book has been out for years and years and is certainly one of the standard references of people in this field, but NCI no longer publishes these in print, but the materials are updated and available online and in PDF format as well. All very searchable.
The book walks an individual through the stages of the health communication process: from planning, to developing, to implementation, to assessment – with examples galore and updated methods (internet included!). Solid, solid solid. It’s amazing why this isn’t required reading in our HBHE classes – breaks a lot of the steps down.
One pitfall, however, is that it is a much less theory-oriented than my PH studies – which is perhaps why we didn’t use this. It truly is a manual: step-by-steps that are clear and specific to the particular situation at hand.
That’s all for now… updates as soon as I remember them 😉