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Health Communication

Strategies for Developing Global Health Programs


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 16 Strategic Communication for Health Advocacy and Social Change (Gary L. Kreps, George Mason University)


Gary L. Kreps, George Mason University

Health care consumers have a major stake in the quality of programs provided within the modern health care system. Yet consumers have had difficulty shaping health policies and practices due to a tremendous longstanding power imbalance within the modern health care system that accords far more authority to health care providers and administrators than to patients and family caregivers (Kreps, 2012; 1996). This traditional power imbalance limits consumer participation and influence within the modern health care system despite the fact that a large body of research demonstrates that increases in consumer participation in health care and health promotion efforts can significantly improve the quality of important health outcomes (Greenfield, Kaplan, & Ware, 1985; Kreps, 1988; Kreps, & Chapelsky Massimilla, 2002; Kreps & O’Hair, 1995).

Health advocacy groups and organizations have the potential to recalibrate the traditional imbalance of power in health care and health promotion efforts as a powerful social mechanism for promoting consumer-driven participation and change within the health care system (Kim, 2007). Health advocacy leaders can actively represent the voices, concerns, and needs of consumers within the health care system. Advocates have great opportunities to help make health care programs responsive and adaptive to consumer needs through the use of strategic health communication (Kreps, Kim, Sparks, Neuhauser, Daugherty, Canzona, Kim, & Jun, 2012). Strategic health advocacy communication can promote important influences on the development and refinement of health policies and practices. However, health advocates must learn how to...

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