Resources and Expertise to Impact Public Health

Evidence-based framing and messaging tools and strategies to help public health professionals communicate across sectors. 

Strategic Messaging

This page provides ways to explain the role and value of public health clearly to non-experts. You can craft your own messages to motivate the public and other sectors to support public health. This includes sample messaging, “winning words,” practical tools, and other strategies. 

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Frame Elements

A “frame element” is a communications device that alters the presentation (but not the content) of a message—like a metaphor that helps clarify a concept, a cultural value or shared principle that signals broad relevance, or a particular tone that the messenger adopts. Every communication involves many different frame elements—though they aren’t always chosen strategically. The following frame elements were designed specifically to close critical gaps in understanding between public health experts and professionals in other sectors. They were also tested in multiple settings and shown to be extremely effective. Below is a sneak peak of each element. 

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Foundation of Community Health

A metaphor for how the health of a community is supported by the work of professionals in many different sectors.


A metaphor for how the field of public health engages data to support the work of other sectors in innovative and forward-thinking ways.

Value of

A deeply held and widely shared commitment to using monetary and other resources effectively, and with an eye toward long-term gains.

When You Say... They Think

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.

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Answers to Tough Questions

PHRASES crowdsourced 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.

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Sample Email

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.

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Overview of PHRASES

This training provides an introduction to how productive framing and messaging can improve partnerships and overall health outcomes, and an overview of the tools and strategies PHRASES provides to improve communication to other sectors.

Using the PHRASES Framing Tools

This course focuses on the 10 PHRASES framing recommendations and four framing tools. It provides a deep dive into the tools and finishes with an interactive piece to show learners how to use the framing tools to build and sustain cross-sector partnerships.

Other Toolkit Elements

Stories from the Field

Use these stories (or your own) to help explain that collaboration with public health is not only practical and possible, but it works!

Sample Documents

Examples of strategic plans, memoranda of understanding, governance structures, and logic models for public health professionals to adapt and build upon in their collaboration work.

Resource Library

Check out the plethora of resources available through the PHRASES resource library on topics ranging from the 21st Century Vision of Public Health to the Art and Science of Framing, as well as sector specific resources that will help create stronger cross-sector partnerships.

Related Resources

Map the Gaps

This report analyzes the assumptions and gaps in understanding that public health professionals face when engaging other sectors, detailing how leaders in other sectors think about health, public health, and the value of collaboration.

Strategic Framing Brief

Framing strategies that are proven to shift thinking and attitudes about public health in productive ways. These recommendations can be used to build support for meaningful partnerships with other sectors.

Framing Recommendations

Recommendations for public health professionals and advocates who want to communicate more effectively with the housing, education, health systems, and business sectors about the value of collaboration. Make sure to view all 10!