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“Engage and Deliver” But Don’t Forget to “Listen and Learn”

National Conference on Health Communication, Marketing, and Media.  Engage and Deliver 2008.

Last week, 1,000 people from the fields of public health, social marketing, health communication, health education, and other fields gathered in Atlanta for the CDC’s 2nd Annual National Conference on Health Communication, Marketing, and Media. Miguel Gomez, Director, and Jennie Anderson, Communications Director, attended the conference. We also participated in a panel called “Social Networks and Online Resources for Health Professionals” and shared the lessons we’ve learned from this blog.

The conference provided the team with multiple perspectives on how public health leaders are using health communication and media tools (both old and “new”) to respond to public issues (including HIV/AIDS). The conference covered a wide range of topics, including the culture of poverty, peer-to-peer communications, media coverage, and evaluation and Web metrics.

Photo of Miguel Gomez and Jennie Anderson

Miguel Gomez, Director of with Jennie Anderson, Director of Communications,

We were pleased to hear about several HIV/AIDS-focused resources, including:

Presenters also shared many resources which can help us better understand new media tools. Several of these resources included:

We enjoyed meeting (and in some cases reconnecting) with many of our CDC colleagues, along with many others, including Ben Heywood Exit Disclaimer from PatientsLikeMe, Dr. Vish Viswanath Exit Disclaimer from the Harvard School of Public Health Exit Disclaimer, Nedra Weinreich from Weinreich Communications Exit Disclaimer and author of Spare Change Exit Disclaimer, Michael Ruppal from The AIDS Institute Exit Disclaimer, and many others. Many of our relationships in new media are virtual, so it’s always nice to put a face with a name—and replace the ubiquitous 🙂 with a real smile!

Photo of Sandra Thurman

Sandra Thurman delivering the closing plenary session

During the closing plenary, Sandra Thurman, President and CEO of International AIDS Trust Exit Disclaimer, talked about the importance of adding “Listen” and “Learn” into the conference’s theme (“Engage and Deliver”). She referenced the recent release of the new CDC HIV incidence data and noted that we could have addressed this earlier if we had listened to and learned from some of the communities hardest hit by the epidemic—men who have sex with men and African Americans. Sandra also stressed the importance of working across disciplines, forming private and public partnership, spending time in the communities we are trying to reach, and most importantly, “keeping a passion for doing what we do.”

Speaking of passion – we’ve received lots of comments on our post about the new HIV incidence data being a “wake-up” call. To all our commentors, thank you! We’re thrilled to have this dialogue – and look forward to hearing more from you in the days and weeks to come.

We also want to thank our CDC colleagues for hosting an informative conference! Check out the CDC’s new Facebook Group “Health Communication, Marketing, and Media Exit Disclaimer” and The Healthiest Nation Alliance Exit Disclaimer.