Westat Provides Lessons in Leadership, Social Support, and Ethics for Successful Health Communication

Westat’s health communications experts will be on hand to share best practices for creating compelling communication initiatives at the 13th Annual National Conference on Health Communication, Marketing, and Media (NCHCMM). Westat is a Diamond Sponsor at this year's conference, to be held at the Omni Hotel Atlanta at CNN Center, in Atlanta, Georgia, August 13-15, 2019.

Leadership: Spotlight Session

Wednesday, August 14, 2019, 1:15 – 2:45 p.m. (International E)

Training in leadership and management as it relates to health communication is needed to advance the field. However, there are few formal opportunities for the next generation of health communication leaders to learn these valuable skills.

To help bridge this gap, Westat is sponsoring a Spotlight Session on August 14, Lessons in Leadership: Tips and Strategies for Health Communication Professionals. The Health Communication Leadership Institute (HCLI) is an annual workshop that provides health communication professionals from government, academia, and the private sector with leadership development, managerial tips, strategies to encourage innovation, and training in health communication best practices.

TaWanna Berry

The participants in this panel, moderated by TaWanna Berry, a Westat senior health communications manager, will share insights on how this one-of-a-kind annual forum has enhanced their leadership style and skills. They will reflect on the importance of having platforms for knowledge transfer, networking, and mentoring for health communication leaders.

Social Support: Poster Presentation

Wednesday, August 14, 2019, 9:30 – 10:30 a.m. and 2:45 – 3:45 p.m. (Grand D)

Research shows that having social support and personal networks makes adopting heart-healthy behaviors, such as regular physical activity, eating healthy, losing weight, and quitting smoking, easier.

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute’s (NHLBI's) The Heart Truth®, using the theme #OurHearts are healthier together, created an integrated health communications initiative to encourage Americans to either start a commitment to a heart healthy lifestyle or encourage those around them to do so by engaging in healthy activities together.

#OurHearts was launched in February 2019 during American Heart Month. It caught the attention and support of senior health leaders, such as the U.S. Surgeon General, and engaged hundreds of partners and community advocates to promote heart health across the country. Ms. Berry, project director for Westat’s support of NHLBI’s heart health communication programs, will present a poster on the work we did for NHLBI, Our Hearts Are Healthier Together: Using Social Support Messages to Promote a Healthier Nation, to highlight the program’s activities and successes.

Ethics and Influencers: Session Presentation

Tuesday, August 13, 2019, 3:45 – 5:15 p.m. (International ABC)

In recent years, the use of online influencers as part of the health marketing mix has increased substantially. While influencer marketing can be an effective strategy for disseminating health messages swiftly and broadly, there are ethical concerns associated with the use of influencers. Having a clear understanding of the ethical issues that marketers will face when working with online influencers—especially for health promotion programs—is critical to ensuring successful dissemination of health messages.

Dasha Afanaseva

To address these important issues, Dasha Afanaseva, a Westat senior digital media specialist, will present the session Ethical Dilemmas of Influencer Marketing: What Health Communicators Need to Know. Ms. Afanaseva will review a number of critical issues the industry is facing and present strategies for addressing those challenges. The session will help program planners address these ethical issues with methods that lead to positive collaboration and desired health outcomes.

NCHCMM is organized by the National Public Health Information Coalition (NPHIC). Check the conference website for updates on schedule and location of sessions. We look forward to seeing our colleagues!

Westat has participated in NCHCMM since its debut more than a decade ago. We’re pleased to contribute to the mission of the conference as we explore how the role of communications in public health continues to evolve.

- Terry Savage, a Westat Vice President and Vice President of the Society for Health Communication

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