Enhancing the Health Department's Media Presence
News stories generated by state and national health topics prompt local media to seek related health information from Zanesville-Muskingum County Health Department (ZMCHD). Examples of requests for local comment by the media include such topics as the safety of energy drinks, American Heart Month, and National Drug Take-Back Day. In addition to providing responses to these requests, ZMCHD submits press releases related to topics such as ZMCHD restaurant inspections, various permit fees, and health fairs. Health department staff recognize the importance of providing local comment on state and national stories and informing the public about services the health department provides to the community. However, in 2011, a majority of ZMCHD press releases responded to local media requests, announcements about ZMCHD services, or other general types of information such as relocation of or updates about services the agency offers. ZMCHD recognized a need to generate proactive messages to the public through the media on local, urgent public health issues. Muskingum County is fortunate to have a local daily newspaper and an NBC affiliate located in this county of 85,000. The agency’s relationship with local media is positive, as demonstrated by the media publishing all but one of the agency’s press releases during the year. For this quality improvement (QI) project, ZMCHD wants to leverage the good relationship with the local media to increase the percentage of public health messages initiated by ZMCHD that are based on local health needs and priorities, as opposed to primarily reacting to media requests.
Huth, B. Public Health Quality Improvement Exchange. Enhancing the Health Department's Media Presence. Thu, 11/07/2013 - 15:39. Available at https://www.phqix.org/content/enhancing-health-departments-media-presence. Accessed January 16, 2019.