Honors Writing about Health and Medicine

Select readings from 2009 edition of The Best American Medical Writing

Each relates to the “Choosing Wisely” campaign in a different way…

“The Moral of the Story” by Peri Glass, M.D.

“Lessons from an Emergency Room Nightmare” by Harold Pollack

“My Daughter’s $29,000 Appendectomy” by Tom McGrath


Too many tests?

Too many tests?

I saw this on ABC News Health page and I thought it was interesting. Everyone seems to be catching on to the idea that too much money is spent on tests that aren’t needed. Communication campaigns like ours might be easier to get across if this is the mindset!

Additional Resources for Health Campaigns

For e-copies of what I handed out in class on Tuesday, check out the Consumer Reports Tip Sheets (especially those about doctor-patient relationships, communicating with your doctor, ways to reduce drug costs, asking questions about medical tests, and asking questions about imaging tests).

See also e-copies of the short Consumer Reports Articles from Your Employer (including “More Equals Better?”, “Choosing Wisely”, “Four Things that Would Surprise You”, “Three Health Care Treatments”, and “Three Reasons to Take a Notepad”).

Brainstorming a Slogan

After reading the talking points below and thinking more about your campaign ideas, develop and post a compelling overall slogan/tag line that can apply to all three campaigns along with a couple of related, more specific ones for your target audience.

·      Asking questions/Encouraging Dialogue/Improving care

·      Nurturing the patient-doctor partnership

·      Fostering involvement—doctors with patients and patients with their own healthcare

·      Creating an open doctor-patient dialog for better healthcare

·      Stop interrupting, start listening and encouraging questions for better quality healthcare (provider specific)

·      Listen to the patient’s own story before writing the next chapter (provider specific)

·      Get informed to become a partner in your healthcare decision-making (patient/consumer specific)

·      Inform yourself/Engage yourself/Empower yourself (patient/consumer specific)

·      Communicating with your doctor is the first step in becoming active in your healthcare (patient/consumer specific)

·      The best way to become informed is to ask questions (patient/consumer specific)

CDC Audience Analysis Resources

Check out the following resources, found by the community team (Tamara, Keron, Ian, Elizabeth):

Audience Analysis for Health Campaign

Here are some questions you can use to guide your research about your target audience:

  • Who is your primary target audience and how varied is it? What are its demographics?
  • How would you describe the (range of) cultural and educational backgrounds of audience members? How would you describe their experiences with healthcare?
  • How would you describe the health literacy of this audience? What does this audience likely know and think about the issues addressed in the Choosing Wisely campaign?
  • Why might (or should) your audience care about the Choosing Wisely objectives? What do audience members value about healthcare, and how do these values connect to or compete with those driving the Choosing Wisely campaign?
  • What audience healthcare practices most relate to the issues addressed in the Choosing Wisely campaign?
  • Where and how might your audience encounter and use texts from a Choosing Wisely campaign? How could you most effectively reach this audience with specific types of texts?
  • What experience and familiarity do audience members have with different types of media and texts? What reading/viewing patterns might the audience use when encountering different types of texts?
  • What would your audience need and expect from a health campaign and its texts?



Additional Sample Health Campaigns

I wanted to link you to two additional health campaigns that include tools and strategies from which we might draw.


The first is the CDC’s “Get Smart” campaign, aimed at helping patients and consumers avoid turning to antibiotics for treating viral infections. Take a look, in particular, at the sample print materials, especially the different types of one-page sheets, and the online materials. Also, try to note the differences between texts designed for patients/consumers and those designed for outpatient healthcare providers. Which text examples impressed you the most? Which seem to have the most potential for your project?


The second campaign (or rather set of campaigns) I want to link to you is the CDC’s “Vital Signs.” To get an idea of how social media might be coordinated in this campaign, take a look at pp. 40-45 of the CDC’s Social Media Toolkit, which you can download here.