Conference season is in full swing, and I am not minding these virual formats!
This week, the National Public Health Information Coalition (NPHIC) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) hosted a free online health communication, marketing, and media forum, “From 2020 hindsight to 20/20 foresight.” Plenty of wordplay and optimism in that title, and I think it set a nice tone that did continue through the Forum.
I attended live events and checked out some of their pre-recorded sessions, too. The first day asked an ambitious and important question about the possible role of health communication professionals in addressing health equity and social justice issues, speficially during a pandemic. The second day centered on the communication issues around COVID-19 vaccination, and the third day focused on coronavirus misinformation.
If you missed the Forum, as of this writing it looks like the prerecorded sessions are still up and freely available on this page.
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You might expect presentations by communications and marketing professionals to be, well, strong on the communications aspects. These certainly were. Skilled communicators all, the panelists brought a sense of calm professionalism that was reassuring – even as they conveyed the real urgency behind their various projects, initiatives, and research. Being calm yet passionate isn’t an easy line to walk, so it’s a real credit to the panelists. I’m very grateful for what they shared across these days and to the NPHIC and CDC for making it all happen (smoothly, too!).
I especially appreciate how they began the forum with considerations of equity AND social justice. Sometimes the social justice gets left off, or implied, but not here. Equity and social justice can also sometimes get treated as afterthoughts or add-ons, so again I appreciate their being first in line here, and setting the tone for things to come.
I also appreciated the wisdom and fire in the comments! During these virtual conferences, the chat boxes can be real contexts for teaching and learning, in addition to the sessions themselves. As far as I’m concerned, that happened here. Even in the later sessions, for example, participants continued to ask pointed questions relating to racism, equity, and social justice, carrying through the topics put on the table in Day 1.
One of the elements I observed across a few presentations grabbed my attention. It stuck with me after the Forum was over. I talked about it with my mentor yesterday, and thought I’d share it with you today. I know it’ll be something I write and talk about more in the coming months.
It has to do with the relationship between ‘communication’ and ‘education’ in health communication.
I suppose it’s obvious enough that health communication involves communicating. Yet many times, I heard panelists use both ‘communication’ and ‘education’ to indicate something they do, as professionals, to groups or the public. A few times during the various presentations, those terms were elided.
That really got me wondering. What do the terms ‘communication’ and ‘education’ mean, relative to each other, to people in health communication and marketing circles?
So I’m curious. If you’re a health communicator, or a health marketer, how do you understand the terms ‘communication’ and ‘education’ in your work? What do you see as the relationships between communication and education in what you do? Where does one end and the other begin, for you? Do you see one as a subset of the other? Are they mostly the same to you? Contact me here or on Linked or Twitter. I’d love to hear from you (promise I’ll w/b).
Since my mind is on the relationships between communication and education, I’m sharing an infographic where I invite you to dwell in this space with me for a few minutes.
This infographic focuses on in-person education, and the roles that oral communication and written communication can play.
Maybe it’ll get you thinking about what you assume about the relationships between communication and education, too. Want this and a bunch of other free resources for immediate download? Become a free member!
Infographic: 4 Tips for sharing information with a Patient or Client