Background: CDC’s Division of STD Prevention and the National Public Health Information Coalition (NPHIC) are collaborating to develop an STD communications toolkit. The purpose is to provide tools, resources and materials that will help communications staff and STD program managers in state and local health departments communicate effectively about STDs.
Methods: To help inform the contents of the toolkit, NPHIC conducted two focus groups of its board members, all of whom work in health department communications offices. Next, NPHIC and CDC worked together to develop and conduct key informant interviews with staff in seven state and two city health departments. Interview questions were designed to better understand current STD communications practices and the types of toolkit resources that would be helpful to both PIOs and STD program staff.
Results: Key findings were divided into several categories—staffing, communications planning, material development, social media, barriers/challenges, evaluation, and suggested resources for the toolkit. In addition, the interviews guided the decision to develop toolkits for two audiences – the STD Programs that work directly with the end user; and the PIOs who work through various channels (news media, social media, partner organizations) to reach the end user.
Conclusions: Suggested resources were grouped into three categories of development: 1) Communication products that CDC currently has available. 2) Products that CDC does not have but can develop easily. 3) Items that would take more resources to develop. CDC prioritized resources based on need expressed by key informants and CDC/NPHIC resources to develop new materials. Phase 1 of the online toolkit is to be ready by the end of May 2014 and will include high priority products that we already have or can develop with minimal resources. Phase 2 will include those products that require additional time/resources to develop and will also incorporate feedback received after the launch of Phase 1.