How much did the doctor say to take of this medicine I can’t pronounce? What’s a big word she’s telling me while I tremble from the diagnosis of the big C? Okay, so I know I’m overweight and have high blood pressure, but what do I do about it? I’m really worried about how second hand smoke is affecting my child, is it?

These are the types of questions health communication answers using research, strategic communication, social media, health literacy, literacy, numeracy, and psychological understanding of how we perceive information. It’s a growing field, often funded by government organizations (like the Department of Health or the Department of Natural Works), nonprofit coalitions (like those that focus on health and public policy), pharmaceutical companies (like a campaign for helping people control diabetes), hospitals and other providers (such as aftercare plans for surgery or a root canal), and others. Working together, they help people understand how to be healthier and live better lives.

    Eat Smart in Parks
    Bringing together nature and nutrition allows park-goers a more healthful experience.
    Tobacco Free Missouri
    As a grassroots campaign for cleaner air for all Missourians, Tobacco Free Missouri has the mission of reducing tobacco use and secondhand smoke exposure. Since the organization is made up of individuals and smaller organizations and some businesses, it wanted to get its message into the hands of policy makers at the local and state level. I worked on a booklet to hand out to such politicians because they needed something tangible and because our research indicated that digital and social media efforts were not effective with the target audience, especially in 2013 when we produced the guide.