Communicating for public health

Center for Health Communication offers perspective on effective COVID-19 health campaigns

Since its founding, the Center for Health Communication (CHC) at Moody College has worked to advance the evidence base of health communication through its research, practice and education programs.

And especially during this time of heightened global awareness because of COVID-19, the CHC team is working to help people stay informed by identifying and sharing effective messaging campaigns.

Please follow @UTHealthComm on Twitter for regular updates, and also consider CHC’s perspective on the effectiveness of these highlighted local, statewide and national campaigns.

The CHC is a joint academic center of the Moody College of Communication and the Dell Medical School. The CHC defines health communication as the science and art of using communication to advance the health and well-being of people and populations. The CHC’s mission is to mobilize an interdisciplinary group of scholars and practitioners to create evidence-based health communication research, education, and public health practice.

City of Austin health communication

City of Austin

In health communication, it’s often not what you say, but how you say it. The city focuses their messaging on what you can do under the stay-at-home order instead of what you can’t do.

Centers for Disease Control health communication

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Any organization looking for how to execute smart health communication right now should look at CDC Crisis & Emergency Risk Communication materials. Clear communication is particularly important during times of crisis, and CERC also offers good reference material about the psychology of a crisis.

World Health Organization health communication

World Health Organization

Myths exists about all sorts of health conditions, but especially new ones. Health communication practitioners must find ways to engage myths in a way that is both pragmatic and also respectful of the public’s legitimate anxieties. The WHO also created simple, effective ways to help parents interact constructively with their children during this time.

Center for Health Communication hand hygiene campaign

Center for Health Communication

This evidence-based hand hygiene communication is free and available to anyone who wants it.

Baltimore City Health communication

Baltimore City Health Department

Simple, effective messaging to educate the public about social distancing.

NYC Public Health health communication

NYC Health

Picking relevant icons or images to support written content is an important part of clear health communication. And clarity is even more important during a crisis.

Seattle Public Health health communication

Seattle Public Health

This campaign focused on stigma and xenophobia reduction. Misinformation about COVID-19 can create fear and stereotypes.

University of Texas Health health communication
Texas A&M University health communication

The University of Texas at Austin and Texas A&M University

Longhorns and Aggies don’t always see eye to eye, but we can all agree clear messages and helpful graphics are crucial to effective health communication.

Coalition to End Social Isolation & Loneliness health communication

Coalition to End Social Isolation & Loneliness

While necessary to prevent the spread of COVID-19, physical distancing can have negative effects on mental health. Messaging focused on tips on how to be intentionally isolated and not lonely.

Texas Department of State Health Services health communication

Texas Department of State Health Services

This social media toolkit includes full suite of materials and tools. They’re also available in English and Spanish.

Marc Speir
Senior Content Producer