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Becoming Better Messengers

Let’s Talk: Advancing Community Health through Better Messaging

May 6, 2019


In 2019, the Network for Public Health Law is sharing stories of innovative, collaborative projects and initiatives aimed at improving the health of communities. These projects and initiatives are, at their core, strong collaborations between those who work in law, policy, philanthropy, advocacy and other sectors.

Telling the Story, Making the Case: How We Talk About Health Matters

Healthy communities are built on a healthy and open dialogue among citizens. Yet the current climate of polarization and the tendency to view public conversations as an argument between two sides has made it increasingly difficult to advance important conversations and initiatives to improve community health.

Health policy continues to struggle to reach divided audiences in this challenging political environment. Conversations from health care coverage to immunization have become unnecessarily divisive and drift away from core community health concerns.

Laws and policies can be game changers when it comes to advancing community health. But knowing how to effectively educate, communicate and advocate around specific laws and polices is equally as important. By helping public health practitioners and advocates communicate to a broader audience, we can show that the issues do not always have to be viewed through a political lens.

Equipping Professionals and Advocates with Better Messaging Tools

 A group of practitioners from public health, advocacy, government, faith-based and philanthropic organizations are collaborating to explore a framework for improved messaging around health policy. Grounded in the Moral Foundations Theory, the collaborative is developing methods that can be used to advance community health initiatives with a focus on training professionals and advocates in:

  • active listening to improve communication skills
  • crafting effective messaging for various stakeholders that resonate across divergent perspectives
  • using interdisciplinary teams to select law-related initiatives and develop messages that result in change 

Presentations, publications, webinars and workshops on “Becoming Better Messengers” have found receptive audiences around the country. Health care systems, legislative bodies, public health agencies and other organizations are requesting trainings, signifying a real unmet need for this work.   

The goal of this collaborative effort is to expand these much needed and in demand skill-building workshops for public health leaders, policy makers, advocates and community groups. If you are interested in participating in a training or in supporting this initiative we’d love to have a conversation with you. You can find resources on the Network for Public Health Law website: Becoming Better Messengers. To learn more, please contact Ann Phi-Wendt at