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Media Advocacy and Public Health: Theory and Practice

East Baltimore
4th term
Health Behavior and Society
3 credits
Academic Year:
2022 - 2023
Instruction Method:
Class Times:
  • Monday,  3:30 - 6:20pm
Auditors Allowed:
Yes, with instructor consent
Undergrads Allowed:
Grading Restriction:
Letter Grade or Pass/Fail
Course Instructor:
  • Raimee Heyer Eck
Raimee Eck

Broadens students’ understanding of health communication to include the strategic use of the news media to support community organizing to change public health policy. Builds on theoretical and empirical work in mass communications, and uses case examples in a number of health policy areas to show how the strategies and tools of media advocacy may be applied to specific public health policy campaigns. Ample opportunities are provided for students to “practice” media advocacy, in the form of writing letters to the editor and opinion pieces, role-playing interviews, and so on. Introduces students to research literature about news media forms and practices; to framing techniques to influence news content and gain access to news channels; and to the relationship between media advocacy and other forms of health communication.

Learning Objectives:

Upon successfully completing this course, students will be able to:

  1. View news coverage critically, and discuss and identify how different story frames direct attention to different kinds of solutions to social and health problems
  2. Grasp from a theoretical and practical perspective newsroom practices and constraints, and their impact on public health policy and practice
  3. Shape news stories to maximize the possibility that they will not only attract news coverage but also move forward public debate in ways that are consistent with public health goals
  4. Participate in public debate in the news media through vehicles such as pitching stories, writing letters to the editors and interviewing
  5. Apply principles of framing to the process of preparing for and participating in public and media debates about public health policies
Methods of Assessment:

This course is evaluated as follows:

  • 20% Participation
  • 40% Assignments
  • 40% Final Project

Enrollment Restriction:

Doctoral and master's students

Instructor Consent:

No consent required