Health Communication

CDC is implementing innovative data stories

CDC’s Division of Global HIV and TB (DGHT) has begun the implementation of Data + Storytelling communication method

CHALLENGE
STRATEGY & SOLUTION
TRANSFORMATION
SOURCES
RELATED CAPABILITIES

Challenge

HIV and TB are the world’s two deadliest infectious diseases – accounting for more than 3 million deaths each year.

As a key implementing agency of the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief(PEPFAR), the CDC plays a critical role in the global response to fighting these diseases. In 2018, CDC contributed more than 50 percent of all PEPFAR outcomes aimed at controlling HIV and TB worldwide.

Budget restraints, especially in global health initiatives, have made it more difficult than ever to reach and engage stakeholders in the fight against global health threats such as HIV and TB.

Despite numerous successes, awareness around the CDC’s many contributions to these global efforts has remained lower than desired, particularly among those responsible for approving or advocating ongoing investments in these vital programs.

The challenge, then, is to increase awareness and visibility and engage stakeholders and policymakers in CDC’s messaging and work through innovative communication methods. The goal: to achieve a large impact with a small investment in order to reach key CDC audiences.

Strategy & Solutions

A fresh approach to communications

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). “CDC: Faces from the Frontlines of the Global HIV Response.” YouTube, 14 January 2020,   https://youtu.be/yHEuLlWK98A

Drawing from the success of other visual storytelling programs, CDC and DGHT partnered with international photographer, Thom Pierce, to shoot over 40 Faces from the Frontlines of CDC’s global HIV response to create a Data + Storytelling campaign.

With Karna’s assistance, these personal narratives convey the positive impact of CDC’s work. By juxtaposing powerful images and stories with data, DGHT is able to put a face on these global health crises and reach key audiences through multiple photo exhibits, stories, and media exposure.

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Strategy & Solutions

A fresh approach to communications

Drawing from the success of other visual storytelling programs, CDC and DGHT partnered with international photographer, Thom Pierce, to shoot over 40 Faces from the Frontlines of CDC’s global HIV response to create a Data + Storytelling campaign.

With Karna’s assistance, these personal narratives convey the positive impact of CDC’s work. By juxtaposing powerful images and stories with data, DGHT is able to put a face on these global health crises and reach key audiences through multiple photo exhibits, stories, and media exposure.

 

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A seamless transition

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Transformation

Visual storytelling + compelling data + powerful narratives = Strong outcomes

This innovative and fast-growing approach to communicating key messages and data has been frequently utilized with positive outcomes within the private sector, but has been less frequently utilized within national public health institutions.

By combining analytical and quantitative information with compelling narratives and images, CDC and DGHT are able to share their message, increase awareness, engage their key audiences on an emotional level, and inspire action and commitment from key stakeholders.

“This photo and narrative exhibit, Faces from the Frontlines, depicts the everyday experiences of our beneficiaries, their caregivers, our partners, and our experts.”

— Dr. Hank Tomlinson, Division Director – CDC/DGHT

Transformation

Visual storytelling + compelling data + powerful narratives = Strong outcomes

This innovative and fast-growing approach to communicating key messages and data has been frequently utilized with positive outcomes within the private sector, but has been less frequently utilized within national public health institutions.

By combining analytical and quantitative information with compelling narratives and images, CDC and DGHT are able to share their message, increase awareness, engage their key audiences on an emotional level, and inspire action and commitment from key stakeholders.

[1] Through our contract vehicles, Karna provided overall communications support for DGHT. We worked closely with the DGHT federal full-time staff to develop a strategy that addresses the communications obstacles in the fight infectious global health threats. [2] Dykes, B. Effective Data Storytelling: How to Drive Change with Data, Narrative and Visuals Wiley 2019 [3] Knaflic, C. N. Storytelling with Data., pp. 228, Wiley 2015

Related expertise

  • Health Equity and Social Determinants of Health

  • Infectious Disease and Vaccinations

  • Violence Prevention

  • HIV/AIDS and other STDs

  • Maternal and Child Health

  • Global Health

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