Category: Persuasive Communication

Strategic Skill Area

Strategies to Advance Health Equity: How Health Departments Can Use Countermarketing to Address Tobacco, Alcohol and Unhealthy Food
Group of Diverse Graduates

Course Objective

  • Summarize evidence on the impact of tobacco countermarketing on the initiation of smoking among young adults.
  • Explain why lessons from evidence-based tobacco counter marketing could be effective for countermarketing alcohol and unhealthy food.
  • Identify and describe at least five elements of effective tobacco countermarketing campaigns and explain their relevance to countermarketing unhealthy food and alcohol.
  • Describe at least three roles that state and local health departments can play in countermarketing tobacco, alcohol and unhealthy food (e.g., creating and/or funding public countermarketing campaigns, funding community and youth groups to develop and launch campaigns, training on countermarketing strategies, convening organizations involved in countermarketing).
  • Describe two specific local or state initiatives designed to support countermarketing of tobacco, alcohol or unhealthy food that have been used in other jurisdictions that could be applied in participant’s own setting.
  • Explain how LHDs can leverage “upstream” strategies, including partnering with social movements and community organizations and expanding democratic participation, to support the design and implementation of these initiatives.

Date: May 1, 2017

Nicholas Freudenberg
Distinguished Professor of Public Health
City University of New York School of Public Health

Emily Franzosa
Senior Researcher
City University of New York School of Public Health

Eleni Murphy
MPH Candidate
City University of New York School of Public Health

This self-paced, interactive module prepares public health professionals working in state and local health departments to develop or support the use of countermarketing strategies to reduce demand for tobacco, alcohol and processed foods high in sugar, salt and unhealthy fats. The session begins with a discussion of countermarketing as a public health strategy for reducing the use of tobacco, alcohol, and unhealthy food. Next, learners will explore the elements of countermarketing campaigns, and look at two health departments that have used them successfully. Finally, learners will apply these strategies to think through a hypothetical countermarketing campaign, and plan how you might use them in your own work.

Communicating Public Health: Message Design Strategies to Promote Awareness and Action to Address the Social Determinants of Health
Colorful Illustration of Heads and Thought Bubbles

Course Objective

  • Explain the importance of considering social determinants of health when creating health-related messages
  • List techniques for developing targeted messages that increase awareness and promote action to address the social determinants of health
  • Describe research findings that demonstrate how personal ideology impacts how individuals receive, process, and interpret messages
  • Identify barriers to creating effective messages and media campaigns

Date: October 24,2014

Reviewed June 30, 2020

Jeff Niederdeppe, PhD
Associate Professor, Department of Communication
Cornell University

Dr. Niederdeppe discusses discuss public health advocates can use message framing, narratives and visual imagery to shape public opinion and debate on the social conditions that shape the health and well-being of populations. Neiderdeppe focuses on public health campaigns that have worked to increase awareness and promote action to address social determinants of health. He discusses how public health messages aim to target policymakers and the public (both those in support and those in opposition) in order to achieve the goal of a health campaign aimed to reduce health disparities. It is argued that simply raising awareness about a health issues is not enough to address disparities; messages also need to also make connections to broader concepts and values within society in order to be effective.

Participants will learn about the following three lessons about public health communication:

  1. Education and awareness may not be enough to address social determinants of health;
  2. It is important to connect messages to broader values;
  3. and Opposing messengers are a challenge.
Region 2 Public Health Training Center