The Art and Science of Health Equity Communication

Friday, July 21, 2023: 8:00 AM-9:30 AM
Many communication efforts addressing health disparities tend to minimize factors− social, structural, and systemic− that impact health outcomes. CDC’s Office of Health Equity (OHE) takes a different approach by encouraging strategies that address root causes and boost broader systems-level changes. During this panel presentation, we will describe OHE’s three evidence-informed principles to support successful health equity communication and provide examples of how we put these principles into practice. The first principle, meet the audience where they are, reminds communicators to understand potential resistance to equity concepts. OHE conducted message testing to gain insight about barriers to communicating about health equity. We will present results and share recommendations about effective message framing derived from our message testing. The second principle, communicate health equity as a “we” issue, emphasizes that addressing health inequities benefits everyone. OHE developed a series of five, short whiteboard videos that explain health equity and related concepts by positioning health equity as a “we” issue. We will discuss the process of developing this series and screen the videos. The third principle is to frame health equity as achievable. Making health equity actionable can be a challenge for public health organizations and partners. Communicators can help enhance the willingness and capacity of organizations to embrace health equity by elevating real-world examples of health equity efforts through storytelling. We will share how OHE identifies examples of interventions and programs that address health equity through innovative and effective approaches and shapes these into success stories we share broadly.

Show, Don’t Tell – Advancing Health Equity with Success Stories
Hope Dennis, MPH, Office of Health Equity; Langdon Ligett, MPH, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Eman Jibrel, MPH, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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