Understanding Environmental Health

Building Understanding of Environmental Health

The FrameWorks Institute completed a multi-year, multi-method inquiry into how the American public thinks and talks about environmental health. Sponsored by APHA and generously funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this research revealed effective strategies for talking with the public about environmental health work and the impacts of our environments on public health. APHA released an exciting new set of communications tools and resources based on these findings. To introduce the findings' framing strategies, we hosted a three-part webinar series, conducted by the FrameWorks Institute.

Each of these interactive webinars focuses on a different set of framing resources and strategies. Participants learn about the research base that supports these tools and come away with fresh tips and tools they can build into their communications right away. 

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Check out the Communications Toolkit!

Navigating the Swamp of Environmental Health: Using Evidence to Craft More Effective Communications

If you can predict, you can prepare. Knowing which persistent patterns of thinking undermine public engagement and support can help environmental health professionals improve the effectiveness of their communications. Successful navigation of this “swamp” of public thinking requires strategic choices about what to say and what to avoid. In this hands-on webinar, we review which media frames dominate public discourse and model strategies for advancing the most productive of these patterns. And we tour some of the features of our new online communications toolkit, designed to help communicators at all levels build better public engagement and understanding. Participants will gain tips and strategies they can put to use immediately.

View the webinar slides (PDF, 39 pages)

Framing with Values: Cuing Up Productive Conversations about Environmental Health Work

Opening communications with a value can orient people’s thinking on the topic, and allow for successful follow up interactions. FrameWorks experimentally tested several values to find which worked best in helping the public to understand what’s at stake in promoting our nation’s environmental health. We explore:

  • How choosing the wrong values frame can lead communications astray;
  • The key findings of this APHA-sponsored research; and
  • Which value to use to engage people more deeply in your issues. 

View the webinar slides (PDF, 40 pages)

The Power of How: Using Tested Metaphors to Build Public Understanding about Environmental Health

Improving the public's knowledge base is critical to building support for sound policies and regulatory efforts. We work through two empirically developed metaphors that can help environmental health professionals at all levels explain complex environmental health topics to non-experts, members of the media and the public. Each has been carefully tested and shown to be effective in building a more expansive understanding of environmental health work and the relationship of built and natural environments to public health outcomes. We model how to use these tools and show them in action. 

View the webinar slides (PDF, 48 pages)