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Health Equity Guiding Principles for Inclusive Communication – Making It Stick

Wednesday, August 25, 2021 2:20 - 3:00 PM (EDT)


To build a healthier America for all, we must confront the systems and policies that have resulted in the generational injustice that has given rise to health inequities. Achieving health equity requires focused, intentional, and ongoing efforts to address historical and contemporary injustices; overcome economic, social, and other obstacles to health and healthcare; and eliminate preventable health inequities. As part of that effort, CDC’s new Health Equity Guiding Principles for Inclusive Communication emphasize the importance of addressing all people inclusively and respectfully. These principles are intended to help public health and healthcare professionals ensure their communication products and strategies adapt to the specific cultural, linguistic, environmental, and historical situation of each population or audience of focus. This session will explore the background, development, and need for these principles, how this implementation approach is important in healthcare and medical school training, and what communicators can do to help apply these principles across their public health communication work.

Target competencies - attendees should be able to:

  • Understand why using a health equity lens when framing health-related information is important.
  • Learn how to recognize and implement key principles, such as using person-first language and avoiding unintentional blaming in health communication.
  • Learn some preferred terms for select population groups while recognizing that there isn’t always agreement on these and that preferred terms may shift over time.
  • Learn approaches for how to develop inclusive communications and engage communities in the development of solutions.


"How Do We Move Forward"

Michelle E. Bonds, MBA

Divison of Public Affairs
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

"Words Matter:
What Are We Doing About it?"

Renee Calanan, PhD, MS

U.S. Public Health Service
Health Equity Coordinator
National Center for Emerging and
Zoonotic Infectious Diseases
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

"Operationalizing Racial Justice"

Aletha Maybank, MD, MPH

Chief Health Equity Office, SVP
American Medical Association


Susan K. Laird, DNP, MSN, RN

Project Director
Office of Communication Sciences

Communications Director
Public Health Grand Rounds
Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention