Tuesday, January 31, 2023


Health Defend Offers Training, Communication Strategy and Reputation Management to Health Professionals and Organizations Nationwide, Keeping Them Safe and Engaged in Health Communications

NEW YORK, Jan. 10, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Health professionals increasingly use social and digital media to inform the public and address health misinformation. In fact, health care personnel and public health officials have emerged as critical sources of information during a time when trust in traditional institutions is low and science has become fodder for politics. Using their personal accounts, health experts are leveraging their standing as trusted health messengers to provide rapid risk communications, community engagement and social and behavior change communications. Clever use of digital and social media strategy can turn health professionals into highly valued community voices, and some into nationally influential figures.

Regardless of a health expert’s current standing in social media, strategic health communications are complicated, time consuming, and risky. No health professional is an expert in all topics, and communicating in today’s highly polarized environment poses hazards, personally and professionally. To advance health professional’s use of digital and social media, and to protect their reputation and that of their employer or business, PGP (The Public Good Projects) announces today the launch of Health Defend, the world’s first program offering strategic communications assistance and reputation management to online health professionals.

“Leaders in healthcare and public health are calling for health professionals to engage with the public on digital and social media. We’ve seen thousands answer the call by using their personal accounts to educate and inform. Unfortunately, this is occurring during a time when even fundamental aspects of science and policy are under attack, driven by a massive global surge in misinformation and short-sighted political opportunism. In order to build healthier communities, we need to offer a solution that keeps health professionals online, engaged and safe. That’s done by better resourcing the experts themselves as well as their home institutions. We’ve combined several of our programs, three health care personnel support programs, and our media monitoring lab, into one full-service program. There’s nothing else like it and we believe it will significantly improve the lives of health communicators and health communications in general,” says Dr Joe Smyser, PhD, MSPH, Chief Executive Officer of PGP.

Health Defend is designed for health systems, health insurers, and other health organizations as a means to support their health personnel active on digital and social media. Health Defend offers participating organizations three services in one package:

  1. Peer-to-Peer Training: Experts from PGP’s healthcare personnel programs ThisIsOurShot, VacúnateYa, and Shots Heard provide regular monthly training. Training topics are flexible and can include tailoring messages for different populations, cybersecurity, digital marketing and advertising techniques, legal and ethical considerations, topic-specific advanced lectures, and platform-specific how-to’s for TikTok, Meta, YouTube, etc.
  2. Health Communications: Community Health Needs Assessments, state and local priorities, and strategic plans are translated into communications designed to be easily shared with the public. Best practices from public health and medicine are incorporated, drawn from each topic’s evidence base. Calls-to-action are clarified and linked to relevant internal and external ongoing programs and campaigns. IRB-approved evaluation protocols are created to measure effectiveness and these formal evaluations designed for peer-review and publication can occur in parallel to communications.
  3. Reputation Management: PGP’s advanced media monitoring systems identify threats to enrolled healthcare providers and offer incident reports and audits. Systems are able to monitor a few or several thousand accounts simultaneously. When an incident occurs, staff review the situation and provide one-on-one support.

“Being able to reach the public with timely accurate information is by far the greatest strength of social media, especially in today’s world where misinformation is increasingly abundant. Every day false claims propagate, unrestricted, to vulnerable populations who are unable to discern the validity of the claims, thus putting communities in real danger. As a scientist using social media apps like TikTok and Instagram to communicate to a large audience, I routinely receive harsh, sometimes violent and antisemitic comments simply for making truthful, science-backed statements about controversial topics. Systems like Health Defend that can help protect me and other scientists from these attacks are extremely valuable.” says Dr. Ben Rein, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow in neuroscience at Stanford University.

About The Public Good Projects

PGP (The Public Good Projects) is a public health nonprofit. PGP’s mission is to apply best evidence and practices from the public and private sectors to create bold projects for health. PGP’s programs and initiatives are evidence-based, employ a collective impact model, and are scientifically evaluated. To learn more, visit: https://publicgoodprojects.org/

SOURCE Public Good Projects



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