,

“Igniting change one bite at a time” – by Alison Hunt

***********************************************************************

Not a Govloop Member? 30 Secs & Free to Join for Great Info & Perks

***********************************************************************




For the past six years, I have worked as the Marketing and Outreach
Director on a federal government contract for the U.S. Department of

Health and Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health. In this role, it

is my responsibility to ensure effective messaging on both womenshealth.gov and girlshealth.gov.

However, working in tandem with colleagues who have masters degrees in

public health (MPH) has highlighted my limited understanding of how to

evaluate health studies, use statistics accurately, or judge the

viability of programs. Puruing an MPH from George Washington

University’s Public Health Communication and Marketing program has

started to give me the tools I need to more strategically design,

implement, and evaluate communications campaigns that will positively

impact the health of communities at the local and national levels.

My primary goal is to work with public school systems to develop and

deliver educational programs that not only identify healthy eating

options, but also integrate green living and organic farming practices.

Children and teens would learn fun ways to grow food, cook it, and

motivate family members to adapt these behaviors as well. After all,

eating healthy is a lifestyle which includes thinking about how the food

we put into our bodies is grown, what it was fed, and how far it

traveled to get to our plates. I would like to address concerns with

the current National School Lunch Program and tap into resources like

local farmers for fresh alternatives. Earning an MPH will help me lead

the marketing of programs that seek to involve, educate, and nourish our

nation’s youth.

Childhood obesity is my driving issue. I have witnessed the toll that

social discrimination, poor self-esteem, and depression can take on a

child. As a young teen, I watched as a neighborhood girl was

relentlessly teased in school and later sent to “fat camp,” where she

would write letters to my parents (rather than to her own), begging to

be rescued. Part of me wanted to save her myself.I just didn’t know

how. Now I do. While I can’t go back in time to teach her how to make

healthy lunches and after-school snacks, I can reach out to the

thousands of children and teens who are facing this same humiliation.

That is why my goal of incorporating the principles of green living and

farm-to-table consciousness when designing childhood obesity

intervention programs in schools is so important to me. I believe that

being armed with this knowledge from an early age-through effective

messaging- will not only help stem the epidemic of childhood and teen

obesity, but will also help attach a sense of longevity to what could

otherwise be a fleeting trend. Pursuing a career in public health will

undoubtedly strengthen my ability to ignite behavioral change in the

masses of children who need to be reached on this issue.


Leave a Comment

6 Comments

Leave a Reply

Marco Morales

Alison, part of your communication (singular – not plural) strategy should identify your key target audiences, tie that into your organization’s mission, vision, and goals, and then identify what tactics (e.g., events, conferences, meetings, etc.) you can use as opportunities to best get your theme and messages out. Just a couple of suggestions in case you hadn’t already planned for this. I believe a lot of children can certainly benefit from an effective communication strategy developed by you and your team.

Reply