Enhancing the Health Department's Media Presence


Impact Statement: 
By engaging health department staff across all divisions in the process of developing proactive media messages based on local health needs and priorities, the Zanesville-Muskingum County Health Department was able to improve its provision of timely, needed public health information to the community.

News stories generated by state and national health topics prompt local media to seek related health information from Zanesville-Muskingum County Health Department (ZMCHD). Examples of requests for local comment by the media include such topics as the safety of energy drinks, American Heart Month, and National Drug Take-Back Day. In addition to providing responses to these requests, ZMCHD submits press releases related to topics such as ZMCHD restaurant inspections, various permit fees, and health fairs. Health department staff recognize the importance of providing local comment on state and national stories and informing the public about services the health department provides to the community. However, in 2011, a majority of ZMCHD press releases responded to local media requests, announcements about ZMCHD services, or other general types of information such as relocation of or updates about services the agency offers. ZMCHD recognized a need to generate proactive messages to the public through the media on local, urgent public health issues. Muskingum County is fortunate to have a local daily newspaper and an NBC affiliate located in this county of 85,000. The agency’s relationship with local media is positive, as demonstrated by the media publishing all but one of the agency’s press releases during the year. For this quality improvement (QI) project, ZMCHD wants to leverage the good relationship with the local media to increase the percentage of public health messages initiated by ZMCHD that are based on local health needs and priorities, as opposed to primarily reacting to media requests.

Organization that conducted the QI initiative: 

Huth, B. Public Health Quality Improvement Exchange. Enhancing the Health Department's Media Presence. Thu, 11/07/2013 - 15:39. Available at https://phqix.org/content/enhancing-health-departments-media-presence. Accessed April 14, 2024.

Submission Status: 
1 user has voted.


Submitted by lkent on

Using a QI process was a great way to revitalize the messaging coming from this health department.You not only became more proactive in sending information about current issues, but also re-engaged staff around having a stronger voice in informing the public. Thanks for sharing this QI project!

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Submitted by mudavis on

The implementation of the Public Relations Committee (PRC) with regular meetings and croos-departmet participation is great. It is reassuring to see the success in the planning and evaluation of the project using a number of QI methods and tools. Will be looking to do the same for media work in our department. Kudos to Zanesville-Muskingum County Health Department on their success! Thanks for sharing.

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Submitted by sfenton on

A good lesson for other local health departments in presenting the public health story and messages; often we are not proactive in presenting important information that will benefit the health of the community. It's also good to get staff involved and engaged in identifying and developing information for the public information specialists to disperse. Thanks for sharing.

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Marianne Shawley's picture
Submitted by Marianne Shawley on

Thanks for sharing this project and your ideas.  Lots of good information - I am sharing this with others :)


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Marianne K. Shawley
QI/Accreditation Coordinator
Henry County Health Department

Submitted by christinia on

What a great QI topic! Thank you for sharing this project! 

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Christinia Kemper, RN
Hocking County Health Department
350 St Rt 664 N
Logan, OH 43138
(740) 385-3030 x 241