Conference Enhances Health Communication
A recent conference sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and cosponsored by SAMHSA provided the perfect venue for expanding a national health communications network, called for in SAMHSA’s customer-driven strategic communications plan (see SAMHSA Highlights Strategic Communications Framework).
The Third Annual National Conference on Health Communication, Marketing, and Media, held in Atlanta, GA, in August 2009, explored new ways to engage partners and the public in improving health through an ongoing national dialogue informed by innovative practices and powered by the latest developments in technology.
“At last year’s conference, the topics of mental health and substance abuse were conspicuously absent—not by design, but by default,” said SAMHSA Associate Administrator for Communications Mark A. Weber, M.B.A. “We need to make the key role of behavioral health in overall health an integral part of the national perception—particularly as the Nation engages in a discussion of health care reform. SAMHSA’s cosponsorship of the conference this year and the inclusion of presentations related to behavioral health were imperative.”
In addition to enhancing partnerships across Federal agencies, SAMHSA sought to foster linkages and establish connections among mental health and substance abuse communicators across states. As part of this effort, SAMHSA sponsored scholarships for conference participants from 17 states and the U.S. Territory of Guam. Participants were selected in conjunction with the National Association of State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Directors and the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors.
Brenda Rowe, Ph.D., National Prevention Network representative from Georgia, said, “The Conference was inspiring and offered veteran communications professionals and ‘newbies’ opportunities to engage in a true learning community. Thank you SAMHSA and CDC!”
“Our stakeholders told us what they wanted, and we listened,” Mr. Weber said. “SAMHSA will continue to lead efforts to ensure that mental health and substance abuse are integrated into overall efforts for individual and community wellness.”
Find out more about the conference.