This book is a revision of the original Making Health Communication Programs Work, first printed in 1989, which the Office of Cancer Communications (OCC, now the Office of Communications) of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) developed to guide communication program planning. During the 25 years that NCI has been involved in health communication, ongoing evaluation of our communication programs has affirmed the value of using specific communication strategies to promote health and prevent disease. Research and practice continue to expand our understanding of the principles, theories, and techniques that provide a sound foundation for successful health communication programs. The purpose of this revision is to update communication planning guidelines to account for the advances in knowledge and technology that have occurred during the past decade.
To prepare this update, NCI solicited ideas and information from various health communication program planners and experts (see Acknowledgments). Their contributions ranged from reviewing and commenting on existing text to providing real-life examples to illustrate key concepts. In addition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provided extensive input as part of the agency’s partnership with NCI.
Although communicating effectively about health is an exacting task, those who have the earlier version of this publication know that it is possible. We hope the ideas and information in this revision will help new health communication programs start soundly and mature programs work even better.