The U.S. Agency for International Development has awarded the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health's Center for Communication Programs a five-year $108 million global health communication project to assist developing countries as they lead their own projects to promote healthier behaviors.
The Health Communication Capacity Collaborative, or HC3, will be led by JHU?CCP and includes Management Sciences for Health; NetHope; specialized communication partners InterNews, Ogilvy Public Relations, and Population Services International; and an array of regional and country partners. It will use state-of-the-art techniques to build the capacity of local organizations to design, implement, and evaluate communication projects that make a real difference in the health behaviors of their own communities.
"We know strategic health communication can both save lives and improve their quality," says Michael J. Klag, dean of the Bloomberg School. "JHU?CCP is a leader in the field of strategic health communication, so we are very pleased it will be leading this innovative new project, which will make a real difference on the ground."
USAID sought an organization to steer a project focused on strengthening in-country capacity to implement state-of-the-art health communication so that evidence-based behavior change programming can be sustainable. Within the project, USAID aims to continue building the research base on the impact of communication on public health outcomes. JHU?CCP, which is part of the school's Department of Health, Behavior and Society, has been at the helm of numerous global behavior change communication initiatives since it was established in 1988.
David Holtgrave, professor and chair of Health, Behavior and Society, says, "We have long known that local partners are critical to successful programs that promote healthier behaviors in areas such as HIV prevention, net use against malaria, and improved maternal health. HC3 will put local organizations in charge of their own healthy futures."
In addition to capacity strengthening, HC3 will provide technical leadership in health communication that includes analysis of emerging trends, use of new communication technologies, pilot testing of new and creative approaches, and development and dissemination of technical and operational guidance.
Central to the overall approach is the concept of regional exchanges for health communication and capacity strengthening. These exchanges will allow health communication specialists globally to access resources and learning opportunities, be part of a dynamic and vibrant community, enhance traditional approaches, and share their expertise and tap that of others.