A strong communication plan can be instrumental in achieving goals, targeting diverse audiences and producing clear, memorable, and effective messages. Based on the information and instructions below, craft a communication plan for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that supports one of the Center’s key initiatives.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
The CDC is one of 11 federal agencies that are part of the Department of Health and Human Services. The agency has wide-ranging responsibilities related to the prevention and treatment of diseases such as diabetes, influenza and HIV/AIDS, as well as the promotion of healthy lifestyle choices (nutrition, tobacco use, obesity, etc.), the prevention of injuries, and issues related to environmental health and workplace safety.
Since 9/11, the CDC also has taken a lead role in ensuring readiness for the potential threat of bioterrorism, including anthrax, smallpox, and other deadly disease agents. For instance, the Atlanta-based agency stores and controls the nation’s stockpile of smallpox vaccine and is the coordination point for local public health departments in devising a plan for containing an outbreak or epidemic and administering the vaccine. In issues with national-security implications, it must also meld its work with law-enforcement agencies such as the CIA, the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security.
The leadership of the CDC must balance the urgent goal of preparing for a bioterrorism emergency with the agency’s fundamental mission of preventing and controlling infectious disease and other health hazards. HIV/AIDS, smoking, obesity, Type II diabetes and asthma are just a few of the real, long-term problems that are equally crucial to public health. In addition, new threats, such as the swine and avian influenzas, regularly present themselves. Research and evaluation of ongoing health communication programs have affirmed the value of using various communication strategies to promote health and prevent disease.
Health communication can take many forms, depending on the audience and the urgency of the risk. With any health risk there is always the danger of overreacting; however, the CDC has a responsibility to let people know what is happening and what to do about it.
According to Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the CDC, “When anyone dies at an early age from a preventable cause … it’s my fault.” He views his agency’s key communication partners as the state and local health departments who monitor citizens’ health, the people who run health plans and market preventive services, and the entire business community, which has a strong interest in promoting the health of its employees. He knows the importance of effective communication with a broad audience.
As at the CDC, the success of all businesses and organizations hinges to a large degree on the effectiveness of the communication that takes place. To be effective in any work setting, you will need to understand the process of communication, the challenges of reaching diverse audiences, the appropriate tools and tactics for delivering key messages, and the dynamic environment in which communication occurs.
Your assignment is to prepare a COMMUNICATION PLAN related to one of the following CDC focus areas or initiatives:
? The prevention of childhood obesity
? Reducing tobacco use / smoking
? Reducing the incidence of diabetes in the U.S.
? Preparedness for a potential bioterrorism attack
? Preventing injuries related to motor vehicles
? Reducing exposure to workplace hazards in the healthcare industry
(more information on each of these initiatives is available at www.cdc.gov)
Please note: your assignment must focus on the COMMUNICATION PLAN that supports one of these initiatives. The assignment is NOT to outline the actions needed to prepare for a bioterrorism attack, or to reduce hazards in the healthcare workplace (as examples). You should focus on the COMMUNICATION strategies that will support the initiative.
Your plan should include the following components:
1. What is the objective/goal of your plan?
2. Who is/are your targeted audiences (stakeholders)?
3. What key messages will be directed to each stakeholder group?
4. What specific communication processes/methods will be used to reach each audience?
5. What is the proposed timeline for communication?
6. What are the costs (if any) associated with your plan?
7. What performance metrics /targets will you use to judge the success of your plan, and how will you measure your performance?
Additional reference material regarding how to write a Communication Plan can be found at the following links:
Your paper should be 5-7 pages in length, excluding the Title page, the Abstract page and the References page, with a minimum of 4 peer-reviewed or academically-reviewed sources. Include tables or graphs if they are appropriate to convey your message more clearly.
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