I wasn’t sure what to expect at my first National Conference on Health Communication, Marketing, and Media (NCHCMM). Hosted each year by the National Public Health Information Coalition (NPHIC), the conference brings together professionals who work in public health research and science and those who help communicate their information and findings.
Brunet-García Advertising sent Kim Vermillion, Keenan Farrar, Francie Lefkowitz, Anna Jaffee, and me to Atlanta, Georgia, to see what our colleagues around the nation are doing to move public health forward.
The diversity of presentations and speakers was quite valuable and reaffirmed what I enjoy most about health communications: My contribution can make a positive impact and help others.
I attended a pre-conference workshop hosted by staff from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to learn about using the CDC Clear Communication Index. The index is a research-based tool that helps assess public health communication materials to identify the main message and primary audience. We worked with real CDC content about the flu and physical activity to shape revisions with peers at each table.
This year’s theme—“Big challenges, real world solutions”—emphasized sharing in-depth accounts of health marketing in every keynote and general session. Public information officers, researchers, and ad agency professionals provided attendees with an insider’s look at lessons learned from a variety of communications projects.
“With each breakout session, I get insights on what other folks are trying and learning about various communications vehicles and tools—what worked well or maybe need to be tweaked,” said Kim Vermillion, lead brand strategist at Brunet-García. “Those insights help us fine-tune our own strategies and tactics to be more effective or help us make the case for a client to try a new strategy or tactic.”
Our team presented a poster on “Mobilizing a Movement: Translating the Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain.” Senior Account Manager Anna Jaffee and the CDC’s Helen Kingery, MPH, highlighted the materials and tools the team developed to ensure health care providers can safely and effectively prescribe opioids.
“What I value most about this conference is the face time we get with our clients,” Jaffee said. “I also found the session on smartphones to be valuable because we got to hear from colleagues about lessons learned with mobile app development, which will help as we continue our work with the CDC opioid mobile app.”
“I always enjoy meeting with clients, and being able to present our work with them allowed us to deepen our relationship,” said Account Coordinator Francie Lefkowitz.
Mingling during the poster sessions and getting to talk one-on-one with professionals who are so passionate and excited about their work really made an impression on me. I know that our entire group found the interactive nature of the poster sessions to be valuable.
“I appreciate being able to get a snapshot of certain health campaigns or initiatives from concept through evaluation and having the chance to ask in-depth questions of the authors,” said Public Health Marketing Specialist Keenan Farrar. “It’s a wonderful opportunity for informal networking and gathering of best practices.”
The NCHCMM conference experience was very rewarding, and I look forward to attending future NPHIC events with the Brunet-García team.