HEALTH DEPARTMENT: ENHANCED MEDIA RELATIONS

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HEALTH DEPARTMENT: ENHANCED MEDIA RELATIONS

 

Problem Identification:
The public and media awareness of the Department and its role in promoting public health in Baltimore is usually limited to instances when there is a pressing local health emergency or high-profile efforts to increase the level of State funding in support of the Department’s operations.

Recommended Action:
Increase efforts to engage the general public and media in improving public health in Baltimore.

Classification:
Service Improvement

Functional/Operational Area:
All Departmental Operations

Estimated Annual Impact:
Cannot be Estimated

Estimated Implementation Cost:
None

Barriers to Implementation:
None

Projected Implementation:
Ongoing

Next Steps:
Develop public and media relations plans to increase familiarity with the Department’s operations and the wide range of services it provides.

Analysis:
During the 1990’s, Baltimore received adverse national media coverage due to the local syphilis outbreak. While the Department has made important strides in managing this public health issue and this crisis has faded from the national spotlight, rehabilitating the reputation of the city’ and by extension the Department has been difficult.
While the Department will always attract its strongest public and media attention during periods of crisis, the Department does more than just respond to local health emergencies.

The Department’s 2000-2004 Strategic Plan acknowledges the necessity of undertaking public awareness campaigns and holding town hall meetings to educate citizens, community leaders, and legislators about Baltimore’s public health priorities, needs, and strategies. In addition to the forums, the Department must proactively pursue every opportunity to spotlight its activities, including: public access cable programming, television and radio public service announcements, and targeted media alerts.