de Beaumont Foundation Releases Talking Health: A New Way to Communicate About Public Health

New book provides practical tools to improve communication and build trust

Bethesda, Maryland, Sept. 13, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The COVID-19 pandemic has magnified the critical need for health professionals to communicate clearly and effectively about what public health is, what public health workers do, and why it matters. To help address this, the de Beaumont Foundation, the nation's largest philanthropy focused on state and local public health, has released a new book, Talking Health: A New Way to Communicate About Public Health, published by Oxford University Press.

“We need to bring public health to life,” said Soledad O’Brien, an award-winning documentarian, journalist, speaker, author, and philanthropist who contributed a chapter to the book, together with Rose Arce of Soledad O’Brien Productions. “People need to understand the implications and impacts public health has on every aspect of our society. With the right tools, tips, and messaging, we can create a better understanding of public health, and in turn, a better public health system.”

Talking Health provides practical tools to improve communication through framing, messaging, and storytelling. These tools were developed from original research conducted by the FrameWorks Institute and Hattaway Communications as part of the Public Health Reaching Across Sectors (PHRASES) initiative, led by the de Beaumont Foundation and the Aspen Institute’s Health, Medicine & Society Program. Readers will learn how to:

  • Define public health more clearly;
  • Reframe public health assumptions;
  • Avoid messages that backfire; and
  • Bring data to life through storytelling.

“Effective communication is a vital part of protecting communities and improving health,” said Brian C. Castrucci, DrPH, president and CEO of the de Beaumont Foundation. “This book provides practical tools for anyone who needs to explain public health to any audience, including policymakers, the media, and the public.”

Mark R. Miller, vice president of communications at the de Beaumont Foundation, said, “Many people who are trained in medicine or public health have never had to ‘sell’ ideas or policies to uninformed or skeptical audiences. The insights, tools, and resources in this book can be a first step toward improving communication and building trust.”

What people are saying about Talking Health: A New Way to Communicate About Public Health:

“Talking Health: A New Way to Communicate about Public Health should be required reading for all public health professionals and health communicators. The way public health data and advice are communicated is just as important as the science behind the message. This book gives practical methods and tools for how to communicate effectively.”

-Judy Monroe, MD, president and CEO of the CDC Foundation

"The authors of Talking Health: A New Way to Communicate about Public Health have provided proven strategies that, when used as intended, will help public health practitioners tell their story more effectively. It’s a must-read for anyone who needs to communicate public health’s value to both individuals and communities to get results.”

-Georges C. Benjamin, MD, executive director of the American Public Health Association

“This timely, practical, and relevant book includes essential resources to communicate about the value of public health and to promote cross-sectoral partnerships. It’s a critical tool not only for public health professionals, but also for community partners and leaders from other sectors to develop a shared understanding of ‘public health,’ see the connection with their work, and communicate about it.”

-Renata Schiavo, PhD, MA, CCL, senior lecturer at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, Department of Sociomedical Sciences, and editor-in-chief of the Journal of Communication in Healthcare: Strategies, Media, and Engagement in Global Health

“The global COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated, once again, that health communication is at the core of effective public health. When health communication is done right, science has impact and lives are saved. When done wrong, the opposite occurs. This practical book describes the right way to do health communication — through audience research, strategic messaging and framing, and persuasive storytelling — to reach target audiences with key messages that promote and protect their health.”

-Jay M. Bernhardt, PhD, MPH, dean of the Moody College of Communication at the University of Texas at Austin and former director of the National Center for Health Marketing at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Talking Health is available for purchase through Oxford University Press and Amazon.

Talking Health Contributors:

  • Rose Arce, executive producer, Soledad O’Brien Productions
  • Maureen Byrnes, MPA, faculty member, Milken Institute School of Public Health at The George Washington University
  • Karen DeSalvo, MD, MPH, MSc, chief health officer, Google
  • Anna Duin, former content marketing strategist, mySidewalk
  • Doug Hattaway, president, Hattaway Communications
  • Ruth J. Katz, JD, MPH, vice president and executive director, Health, Medicine & Society (HMS) Program at the Aspen Institute
  • Sarah Martin, PhD, vice president of health solutions, mySidewalk
  • Nat Kendall-Taylor, PhD, CEO, FrameWorks Institute
  • Soledad O’Brien, award-winning documentarian, journalist, speaker, author, philanthropist, and founder of Soledad O’Brien Productions
  • Moriah Robins, MPH, senior research associate, de Beaumont Foundation
  • Eric Zimmermann, vice president, Quadrant Strategies, and former director, Hattaway Communications

Talking Health Editors:

  • Mark R. Miller, vice president of communications at the de Beaumont Foundation
  • Brian C. Castrucci, DrPH, president and CEO of the de Beaumont Foundation
  • Rachel Locke, MPH, former senior program associate at the de Beaumont Foundation
  • Julia Haskins, communications associate at the de Beaumont Foundation
  • Grace A. Castillo, MPH, former program associate at the de Beaumont Foundation

About the de Beaumont Foundation

The de Beaumont Foundation creates and invests in bold solutions that improve the health of communities across the country. Its mission is to advance policy, build partnerships, and strengthen public health to create communities where everyone can achieve their best possible health. As part of its mission, the foundation partners with leading publishers to produce books with insights and practical guidance for public health professionals and advocates. For more information, visit