As a result of our expanding relationship with local and regional universities, we were invited to give a guest lecture for a Cornell University Master of Public Health class. On September 19th, our Executive Director, Matt Whitman, joined Professor Amelia Greiner Safi, PhD, MS, to talk to her class about public health communications work, social norming campaigns, and what CACTC has learned from doing health communications for as long as we have.
Matt discussed campaigns that haven't worked well, and how to learn from those failures and avoid factors that lead to them. He spoke about successful campaigns we've run, explaining how we've put into practice the lessons we learned from campaigns that struggled. One of the key elements of campaign design for CACTC is the alignment of audience, platform/tactic, and desired outcome. He also discussed some of the realities and challenges of public health work--for instance, public health as a system isn't designed for marketing and isn't an agile system. Another core piece of our public health communications work is data-driven messaging and evaluation. However, the reality of this work is that data won't be convincing to everyone.
Finally, Matt asked students to think about public health communications campaigns they've seen "in the wild" and then they discussed what worked well about those and what didn't. Students discussed D.A.R.E., the designated driver campaign, and the Logic song 1-800-273-8255.