Field of Work: Public education campaign to build support for public health research.
Problem Synopsis: According to the Institute of Medicine (IOM), by the late 1990s approximately half of all causes of mortality in the United States were linked to behavioral and social factors such as smoking, poor diet, alcohol use, sedentary lifestyle and accidents. Yet, less than 5 percent of the approximately $1 trillion spent annually on health care in the United States was devoted to reducing risks posted by these preventable conditions, according to a 2000 IOM report. The authors of the report concluded that greater investments in prevention and public health research are essential to risk reduction.
In 2000, Research!America conducted a study to determine if and how compelling messages about the importance of investing in prevention research could be developed and conveyed to the public and elected officials. The opinion poll of politicians, public health professionals and the media showed support for prevention research, but indicated that a strategy was necessary to ensure increased public awareness of, and support for, enhanced investments.
Synopsis of the Work: From 2001 to 2006, staff at Research!America conducted a national public education campaign to increase support for public health research by training public health professionals in communications, messaging and building relationships with policy-makers and the media; and directing a media campaign at policy-makers in Washington that focused on the benefits of prevention.
Key Results: Project staff conducted: