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The tools contained here can help you build bridges to other sectors by articulating shared goals, the problems that stand in the way of reaching them, and the solutions that come from partnering with public health professionals. A growing challenge in public health communications is motivating sector-specific audiences to see the value of collaboration. To successfully break down silos, leaders in other sectors need to understand what public health professionals do and realize the benefits of partnering with them.
This toolkit will empower you to confidently tell strategic stories about public health. These stories can raise awareness of public health initiatives among key audiences and inspire those audiences to take action to help achieve your goals. It includes a number of tools to help you become a more confident storyteller, as well as insights from psychology and cognitive science that explain why storytelling is the most effective way to help non-experts understand and embrace a complex topic.
Public Health Communications Toolkit
Use the research-based language, guidance, and best practices included in this toolkit to start conversations with non-experts and frame public health in a way that is relevant to their lives. These tools and messages are not intended to serve as a comprehensive definition of public health, or to replace other materials the field has developed (e.g., the core functions of public health and the 10 essential public health services). Rather, they aim to address the challenges experts face in motivating audiences to understand and support public health efforts.
Outreach emails are often an important early communication between public health professionals and other sectors. This tool has “before” and “after” versions of a sample introductory communication to initiate a cross-sector partnership.
Answers to Tough Questions
PHRASES crowd-sourced tough questions about public health that practitioners are often confronted with, such as “What is public health?” and “How is public health different from health care?” This tool shows a standard or typical answer to the question, and a suggested reframed answer.
When You Say...They Think Charts
When communicating with sectors outside of public health, often what we say can come across in a very different way than we might anticipate. This tool shows commonly used phrases from public health, explains what the other sector might be thinking in reaction, and provides framing tips and guidance for reframing our communications.
PHRASES Quick Start Guide
There are many different framing strategies that can be used to effectively communicate about the value of public health and cross-sector collaboration. Use this guide to get a quick overview of the PHRASES research and tools.
Partnering to Catalyze Comprehensive Community Wellness: An Actionable Framework for Health Care and Public Health Collaboration
“There is mounting recognition that to truly improve health outcomes in the U.S. and curb chronic diseases there must be an interdisciplinary, coordinated, and cross-sector approach to address acute conditions and the upstream social factors that contribute to poor health outcomes.” The Public Health Leadership Forum (PHLF) and Health Care Transformation Task Force (HCTTF) developed a framework that “outlines essential elements of collaboration and presents key tactics and strategies for forming or reshaping effective partnerships.”
National Alliance to Impact the Social Determinants of Health (NASDOH)
“The National Alliance to impact the Social Determinants of Health (NASDOH) is a group of stakeholders working to systematically and pragmatically build a common understanding of the importance of addressing social needs as part of an overall approach to health improvement. [They] provide a bridge between sectoral efforts by engaging organizations across the national system of health and in particular, engaging the business sector to articulate the cross-sector value proposition for addressing the social determinants of health.”
Mobilizing for Action through Planning and Partnerships (MAPP)
“MAPP is a community-driven strategic planning process for improving community health. Facilitated by public health leaders, this framework helps communities apply strategic thinking to prioritize public health issues and identify resources to address them. MAPP is not an agency-focused assessment process; rather, it is an interactive process that can improve the efficiency, effectiveness, and ultimately the performance of local public health systems.”