Turning great ideas into healthier communities


Media Advocacy

Media advocacy—the strategic use of mass media to support community-driven efforts that advance social justice or public health campaigns—connects with newsmakers to narrate social policy issues through an engaging lens, broadening the default frame from individual behaviors to call for long-lasting public health improvements.

PHI offers a wide array of skilled expertise in media advocacy in a variety of pressing public health issues, including violence prevention, affordable housing, emerging practices in obesity prevention such soda taxes and local ordinances, and more. Our media advocacy support can help your campaign raise public awareness, garner support from allies and partners, and put pressure on decision-makers to take action.

Our expertise includes:

  • Media strategy development: PHI staff can work with you to develop successful media strategies by analyzing the media and public perception, then effectively reframing your issue.
  • Get your issue—and message—in the news: Work with us on pitching and placing media stories, and learn how to create strategic, newsworthy media opportunities.
  • Coaching: Our staff is available to provide speaking coaching to help organizational leadership and community advocates speak confidently with the media.
  • Using new media effectively: PHI staff provides technical support and trainings to help your team use social media, and other emerging technological tools to engage reporters, allies, and policymakers.


Resources and Tools


Lori Dorfman

Lori Dorfman, DrPH, directs Berkeley Media Studies Group, which works with community groups, journalists and public health professionals to use the...

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Alcohol Research Group

Established in 1959, the Alcohol Research Group (ARG), a program of the Public Health Institute, conducts and disseminates research on the epidemio...

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Berkeley Media Studies Group

Berkeley Media Studies Group (BMSG) works with community groups, journalists and public health professionals to use the power of the media to advan...

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Here's How We're Making a Difference

Communicating for Change

The Berkeley Media Studies Group’s Communicating for Change training program helps community health advocates build media advocacy skills to make their case effectively for policy changes in hotly contested public debates. The Communicating for Change curriculum has provided training in core media advocacy skills to 600 California Endowment grantees, including learning to frame issues from a public health perspective, to package the important issue as a newsworthy story, and to argue the case effectively even in the face of opposition.

Following the training series, the Los Angeles County Violence Prevention Coalition Director, Kaile Shilling, reported a series of successful media “hits” that she attributed in large part to how prepared she felt from the training. 

Protecting SNAP-Ed During Federal Farm Bill Negotiations

Photo by Tim Wagner/HEACDuring the last round of federal Farm Bill negotiations critical funding for SNAP-Ed, the health education component of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps), was on the verge of getting cut. PHI's advocacy team helped lead a national effort that protected SNAP-Ed programs not only in California, but across the U.S. Today, these programs continue to provide vital nutrition education to support low-income families in living healthy lifestyles.