Communicating for Change trainings

In April 2006, The California Endowment launched the Center for Healthy Communities as a venue for mobilizing community and civic leaders, health providers, advocates, and policymakers to advance community health. Core to the Center's mission is the Health ExChange Academy, a series of capacity building trainings designed to strengthen the skills of leaders across California. BMSG was commissioned to develop the Center's training on strategic communications.

Media advocacy training curriculum

As part of this effort, BMSG created the Communicating for Change training curriculum which teaches public health leaders how to engage the news media strategically to advance community health. Through our dynamic, interactive training modules, participants explore the role of the news media in shaping public health policy debates and learn to reframe issues to include public health values and environmental solutions.

Each of the seven modules focuses on core skills, such as developing a strategic media plan, crafting an effective frame and message, gaining attention in the news, and successfully working with journalists. The curriculum is illustrated with examples of media advocacy work from advocates pursuing public health improvements on issues such as obesity, asthma, violence prevention, reducing health disparities and increasing health care access. Participants practice what they learn through role-playing, small-group exercises, and, in advanced trainings, on-camera interviews.

BMSG's trainings are designed to build participant skills in thinking strategically about creating healthy communities, speaking and writing effectively, and crafting solid policy-oriented answers to difficult questions. Launched in the fall of 2006, the media advocacy training curriculum was offered to The Endowment's grantees at the Center for Healthy Communities in Los Angeles as well as at The California Endowment's regional offices.

Related resources

Module 1: Making the case for health with media advocacy

Module 2: Planning ahead for strategic media advocacy

Module 3: Shaping public debate with framing and messages

Module 4: Creating news that reaches decision makers

Module 5: Engaging reporters to advance health policy

Module 6: Targeting audiences with new communication tools

Module 7: Training allies in strategic media advocacy

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