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Health Communication

Strategies for Developing Global Health Programs

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Edited By Do Kyun Kim, Arvind Singhal and Gary L. Kreps

Promotion of healthy behaviors and prevention of disease are inextricably linked to cultural understandings of health and well-being. Health communication scholarship and practice can substantially and strategically contribute to people living safer, healthier, and happier lives. This book represents a concrete step in that direction by establishing a strategic framework for guiding global and local health practices.
Taking a multi-disciplinary approach, the volume includes state-of-the-art theories that can be applied to health communication interventions and practical guidelines about how to design, implement, and evaluate effective health communication interventions.
Few books have synthesized such a broad range of theories and strategies of health communication that are applicable globally, and also provided clear advice about how to apply such strategies. This volume combines academic research and field experience, guided by past and future research agendas and on-the-ground implementation opportunities.
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Chapter 13 Community Participatory Design of Health Communication Interventions (Linda Neuhauser, University of California, BerkeleyGary L. Kreps, George Mason UniversityS. Leonard Syme, University of California, Berkeley)

Extract

Linda Neuhauser & S. Leonard Syme, University of California, Berkeley Gary L. Kreps, George Mason University

Health communication is “the central social process in the provision of health care delivery and the promotion of public health” (Kreps 1988, p. 238). A half-century of health communication research demonstrates its many important influences on promoting public health (Neuhauser & Kreps, 2003). However, research also shows that many communication efforts to promote health either fail to meet their goals, or have only modest effects (Snyder, Hamilton, Mitchell, Kiwanuka-Tondo, Fleming-Milici, & Proctor, (2004). A U.S. Institute of Medicine report (Smedley and Syme, 2003) concluded: ‘‘Behavioral and social interventions offer great promise to reduce disease morbidity and mortality, but as yet their potential to improve the public’s health has been relatively poorly tapped.’’

The uneven results of health communication programs have been frustrating to many researchers, practitioners and policymakers and have sparked much reflection and debate about how to do better. Scholars have commented on a range of issues from weaknesses in underlying theoretical frameworks to inadequate design processes (Neuhauser & Kreps, 2003). Traditional health communication approaches are typically based on solid scientific evidence about actions that people can take to improve their health. However, such programs have tended to focus on one-way design and delivery of generic, expert messages that are not specifically relevant to people’s personal characteristics or their social settings (Neuhauser & Kreps, 2010). Frequently, health communication efforts are not well adapted to people’s literacy levels, languages, cultures,...

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