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Health Advocacy

A Communication Approach

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Marifran Mattson and Chervin Lam

There is growing emphasis in Health Communication on the study of communication processes that aim to change systems, policies, beliefs, attitudes, and/or behaviors for the betterment of the health of individuals and communities. Engagement on behalf of individual and community health is the basis of health advocacy - the attempted effort to change health policies so that better health outcomes may result.
This book explores the processes and strategies involved in creating a health advocacy campaign to guide current and aspiring health advocates to successfully advocate for policy change.
The Health Communication Advocacy Model is provided as a framework for exploring these issues. The model emphasizes the message design process, particularly in the tailoring of messages to address the needs of target audiences. However, consideration of important health advocacy concepts also is provided, including how to organize an advocacy team, approaches to formative research, research-based strategies for crafting effective health advocacy messages, and recommendations for what to do when an advocacy campaign is ending. This framework is designed for users to execute an advocacy effort for any health issue – from obesity, to cancer and smoking - in an efficient and effective manner.
Ultimately, readers will learn how to lead a successful advocacy campaign and accomplish their desired advocacy goals.
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About the authors

About the authors

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Marifran Mattson (Ph.D., Arizona State University) is Professor and Head of the Brian Lamb School of Communication at Purdue University. Her research is published widely in journals such as Communication Monographs, Health Communication, and Health Marketing Quarterly. She is the coauthor of two other books on health communication.

Chervin Lam (M.S., Purdue University) is working toward a Ph.D. in health communication. His research has been published in Review of Communication and achieved top paper awards at the Central States Communication Association conference.

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