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Communications Workforce

A public health communicator is anyone whose primary responsibility is to shape, spread, or understand the impact of a public health message. A public health message intends to reduce the burden of disease and injury throughout the general population or to targeted subsets of the general population by using appropriate messages, messengers, and communication channels.

Public health communicators may be public information officers, specialists in areas related to communications, marketing, branding, social media, health risk, community relations, and cross-cultural communication. Public health communicators work for federal, state and local health departments as well as in other settings such as academia, private industry, foundations, and non-profit organizations with a mission to reduce the burden of disease or injury.

Local health departments seeking to build communication capacity by hiring a dedicated public health communicator or retraining individuals who currently performs communication activities under "other duties as assigned" might find these guidelines useful.


Communication and Marketing: A Foundational Capability for Local Health Departments
Learn about the need for public health communicators within a local health department and the fundamental skills of the communications and marketing workforce.

In Support of Public Health Communicators
This case for support describes why competent public health communicators are critical to a local health department' ability to raise its visibility and perceived value with the public, policy makers, and the media.

The Roles and Responsibilities of a Public Health Communicator
These position descriptions describe local health department strategic communications support in three tiers of seniority and levels of responsibility.

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