Beyond Bedside Manner: Effective Provider-Patient Communications

Effective communication between provider and patient is a critical component of all patient-centered care. As a health communications professional, I appreciate this fact. As a mother/patient/caregiver, I appreciate it even more. 

We’ve all had that moment in the doctor’s office either as patient or caregiver… “The test results are positive,”…is that a good thing? “The numbers are borderline,”…so we’re in the clear until next year’s exam? “We will explore palliative care,”…is that the same as hospice?

7 Things I’ve Learned from Developing Social Media Content for a Federal Stats Agency

Admit it: when you log on to your social media every day, the last thing you’re looking forward to is seeing content from a federal statistical agency. And who could blame you? It doesn’t sound nearly as exciting as content from your favorite celebrity, sports team, or public figure.

But look at the Facebook and Twitter pages for our client, the U.S. Department of Education’s National Assessment of Educational Progress(NAEP, also known as The Nation’s Report Card) and maybe you’ll ask yourself: Why have I not been following NAEP?

Behavior Change Theory: The Unlikely Hero in Fighting the Flu

If you haven’t heard yet—the flu is going around. In fact, this flu season has been one of the worst on record—and it’s set to get worse. The flu has spread to almost every state in the country, and recently  the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported a total of 63 pediatric flu-related deaths this season.

The other day I was speaking with my close friend, Lucy (name changed to protect her identity), about this year’s flu epidemic. Through our conversation, I discovered that not only had Lucy neglected to get the flu vaccine, but that she also had no intention of getting it. To make matters worse, she revealed that she has NEVER gotten the vaccine. As a public health professional (and someone that spends time with her), I was astonished. Unfortunately, my dear friend isn’t the only one: Despite ongoing messaging that the vaccine is important, studies show that less than half of U.S. adults get the flu vaccine each year.

Bringing Student Stories to Life: Hager Sharp Gives Back at 826DC

As a kid, writing stories was one of my favorite things to do in my free time. My preferred genre was fantasy, often with some sort of mythical creature or talking animal involved. I loved dreaming up intricate details about my characters and developing their dialogue, even if my plots could have used some serious work. While I never quite succeeded in becoming a world-renowned, bestselling child author, creative writing was a fun pastime for me—one that I know helped me build a strong foundation of writing skills early on in life.

Cape Town’s Water Crisis From a Social Marketing Perspective

On April 12, Cape Town, South Africa is on track to become the first major city in the world to run out of water—officials are calling it Day Zero. Cape Town has faced three consecutive years of extreme drought and is now less than three months from its taps and toilets running dry.

In order to slow water consumption, the city has instituted self-imposed caps on household water usage to 13 gallons per person, per day. These limits translate to shorter showers, recycled bathwater, fewer toilet flushes, infrequent usage of dishwashers and washing machines, and no garden watering or car washes. But the self-regulation isn’t really working—Day Zero recently had to be pushed up two weeks from late April because of the city’s daily water usage.