This course considers the design, implementation, and evaluation of public health communication programs that aim to influence the health-related behaviors of individuals, groups, and communities. The first part of the course reviews the theoretical foundations of public health communication campaigns, including key theories of health behavior change and communication theories that augment them. The second part introduces students to key planning and design considerations of successful public health communication campaigns. The third and final part of the course engages students with the versatile communication strategies and skills that health communication professionals employ routinely to influence people’s health-related decisions and behaviors.
By blending theory and practice, this course (a) provides a starting point for developing knowledge of health campaigns, (b) encourages thoughtful criticism of past campaigns based on solid theoretical ideas, and (c) equips students with creative problem-solving skills that can be applied to the design of actual campaigns. Through a series of individual and group assignments, students have an opportunity to apply the knowledge and skills they acquire in this class to the formulation, design, and evaluation of a communication campaign addressing a health problem of their choice.
Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:
- Describe and compare major theories and models of health behavior change.
- Use a combination of theoretical tools and research insights to design and implement health communication campaigns that address specific, real-world public health problems.
- Demonstrate ability to critically assess the efficacy of health communication campaigns (process and outcomes evaluation).
- Communicate effectively with diverse groups of stakeholders to facilitate successful implementation of the campaign.