Outreach & Education
Research shows that the impact of word-of-mouth and influencers is more effective in driving awareness and impacting behavior change than mass advertising. As part of Westat's communication and social marketing practice, outreach to these influencers and education of program target audiences is a key strategy.
Westat is working with CDC's Native Diabetes Wellness Project (NDWP) to develop, publish, and promote Eagle Books, illustrated stories for grades k-4 that promote healthy lifestyles and Native traditions. The books have become immensely popular across Indian Country, and the original artwork, which was originally exhibited at the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian, is currently on tour at museums and galleries across the country. Building on the original award-winning Eagle Books, Westat and NDWP are developing a new series for adolescents in parallel with community-hosted diabetes prevention events. Coyote and the Turtle's Dream, is a 200-page novel that will be adapted as a 4-volume graphic novel. The novel and graphic novel received acclaim in the Huffington Post when they were debuted at New York's 2010 Comic-Con. The second book, Hummingbird's Squash, will weave diabetes prevention messages into a plotline featuring a school bully. Westat is consulting with CDC's Division of Violence Prevention regarding anti-bullying messages for children, parents, schools, and communities.
Outreach to Healthcare Providers
Westat is working with CDC to determine how to encourage healthcare providers to refer patients to community-based arthritis programs. We conducted formative research to examine factors that influence healthcare provider referrals to these programs. This included a comprehensive literature review, in-depth interviews, and an online survey. These findings informed development of a strategic communications plan and a toolkit to help community-based arthritis programs market interventions to primary care medical practices. To encourage providers to refer patients to these programs, the toolkit contains guidance on developing a communications plan, establishing a marketing team, identifying practices, as well as conducting and evaluating outreach efforts. Westat produced a video to demonstrate an in-person outreach approach and created leave-behind materials for providers and patients. Westat developed, maintains, and provides technical assistance for an online tracking tool to coordinate and engage stakeholder interactions.
The Guide to Community Preventive Services
Westat provides technical assistance and communications support to The Guide to Community Preventive Services. The Community Guide is a free, peer-reviewed resource that helps public health practitioners select programs and policies to improve health and prevent disease in their communities. The Community Guide provides systematic reviews that highlight effective programs and policy interventions and the likely return on investment. Westat works directly with CDC staff and partner organizations to conceptualize, develop, implement, and evaluate communication strategies to promote Community Guide recommendations to key target audiences. Westat is conducting research to identify and understand the knowledge, attitudes, and practices of health departments in using and promoting the evidence-based public health interventions. The research informs communication strategies to increase awareness and use of the Community Guide.