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NIH Record

Health Communicators Hold Forum

The NIH health communication forum recently hosted "Building the Framework: An Interactive Workshop for Health Communication Planners." The event was the second in a series developed by NIH information offices wherein experts discuss techniques, strategies and research methods in health communication and promotion.

Elaine Arkin, former deputy director of public affairs, PHS, explains fine points of targeting health messages to the public.

Elaine Arkin, former deputy director of public affairs in the Public Health Service, stressed the need for careful identification of health messages and target audiences in the increasingly diverse American population. She emphasized the need to reach underserved populations and discussed ways to "segment" audiences by various physical, behavioral, demographic and cultural characteristics. She illustrated her talk with effective audience-targeted examples of public service announcements developed by NIH and other federal agencies.

Market research is a key ingredient in successful health communication, according to Lynne Doner, social marketing consultant. She discussed a variety of research methods and the value of pretesting concepts, messages and ads with both focus groups and individuals.

Dr. Galen Cole (l) of CDCP and Lynne Doner (r) get help from Rita Baker during the second annual health communications forum.

Another highlight of the forum was CDCynergy, an innovative CD-ROM developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CDCP's Galen Cole led participants through highlights of the multimedia tool. CDCynergy helps users analyze a problem and devise a health communication intervention through a tutorial and workbook format. Free copies of CDCynergy, as well as forum binders, are available while supplies last. Request them from Cindy Elliot-Amadon, (301) 315-9000, ext. 268.

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