Communications Skills at the Core of Building Resiliency in Vermont Communities

The New England Public Health Training Center continues to be impressed by what our partners can accomplish in their area of the public health system, and are so honored to be their partners in public health via learning.

NEPHTC has a broad mandate to strengthen the public health workforce, across all learning modalities, and we are particularly delighted when we find opportunities to support the workforce, via technical help and learning, in a way that will have an exponential, long term impact. Communications Coaching, especially with informed and important networks working on big public health goals, is a terrific example of the impact of learning and the importance of the broad inclusive public health workforce.  NEPHTC supports the role of communications coaches and persuasive messaging to help public health professionals move their complex ideas and projects forward.

NEPHTC is pleased to support the Vermont Resilience Messaging Project (VRMP) (under leadership of Auburn Watersong, Director of Trauma Prevention and Resilience Development, Vermont Agency of Human Services), via supporting the coaching work of our NEPHTC Marketing and Communications consultant Michele Levy of ML Brand Strategy Consulting.  Michele’s work as a consultant prior to and with NEPHTC is a broad and deep portfolio of non profit and public health communications work. See Michele’s presentation, Vermont Resilience: A Shared Messaging Framework, here.

Persuasive Communications is one of the deBeaumont Foundation’s “Strategic Skills” that public health is investing in to solve the complex problems facing the field, as called for in Building Skills for a More Strategic Public Health Workforce: A Call to Action. This Vermont Resilience Messaging Project is a terrific example of its importance.

Simplify Messaging, Create More Ambassadors for Resiliency, Increase Access to Resources
The problem statement that the VRMP is designed to address is as follows: “Throughout Vermont, multiple public sector and non-profit organizations are working to build resiliency among the state’s citizens and communities, each with its own model and ways of communicating about how to build resiliency. The introduction of Act 204 (designed to “ensure a consistent family support system by enhancing opportunities to build resilience among families throughout the State…”) has led to increased integration of efforts, but competing models and messaging still exist, potentially creating confusion and barriers to engagement for individuals, families, and communities. Lack of integration of messaging and communications can also lead to inefficiency and lower overall impact.” This statement was drafted by NEPHTC Evaluator, Hope Kenefick for the project logic model. The goal, was defined as “Eliminate siloes and coordinate efforts of organizations focused on building resiliency among the citizens and within communities of Vermont.”

Why so much focus on communications? Because of this Theory of Change: By creating a set of messages and common language that can be adopted statewide: efforts to build resiliency will be better coordinated; resources will be maximized; statewide support will increase for this work; and citizens and communities will have better access to resources to build resiliency.

August 4 Convening of Key Vermont Resiliency Advisors
The many advisors working through out Vermont met to continue to learn and exchange ideas about the VRMP on August 4 online. Together they discussed the importance of the effort, and reviewed the design of the VRMP (See presentation here). A one pager of the messaging, the Vermont Resiliency Messaging Guide, was shared.

And Beyond
Stay tuned as NEPHTC continues to find ways to spread the word about this important project.  Auburn Watersong and Michele Levy will be presenting their work at the Massachusetts Nonprofit Network convening on October 6, 2020, in a presentation entitled: “Aligning Messaging to Expand Engagement: Lessons Learned from the Vermont Resilience Messaging Project” Congratulations Michele and Auburn that your network’s important communications project is gaining recognition.