The academic community has an exciting opportunity to enact data-driven and sustainable policies through establishing a strong rapport with one’s federal and state legislators. A critical element in this relationship building process is the ability to successfully share one’s story in order to demonstrate the value of one’s work. Below, please find a variety of webinars, documents, and online training modules (free of cost) that center on best practices for effective communications.

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Grassroots advocacy: How to write an Op-Ed
Developed by the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and presented by Dean Tricia Serio (University of Massachusetts Amherst), this webinar carries viewers through the various steps of writing an op-ed, including who’s the audience for the op-ed, choosing a perspective to write from (i.e., a global health scientists), developing a “news hook,” and finding a venue for the op-ed. Dr. Serio also discusses the importance of sharing one’s pieces through social media after it is written. This a great webinar for NAA and STAT members interested in learning more about crafting op-eds.

Op-Ed Writing, Submission, and Pitching Resources
To better help you pitch your op-eds, The Op-Ed Project offers submission information about top online and print publications in the US. Many publications are open to op-ed submissions. They also provide suggestions to help you as you formulate your ideas.

Communicating with the Public, Media and Stakeholders
This online training designed to strengthen the global health community’s understanding of how to effectively communicate complex ideas to the general public. In this training, we examine the core elements of what outside audiences need to understand as well as how to craft appealing messages. We discuss specific venues for communicating your messages, such as letters to the editor, social media, traditional media, with legislators and more. You will come away from this training with enhanced skills for reaching out to influencers in your community—and beyond!

Shifting the Narrative: The Role of Social Media in Public Health Communications Webinar
Hosted by University of California Berkley’s Center for Public Health Practice and the APHA Health Communication Working Group, this webinar examines the ever-increasing role of social media within the public health sector.

Talking Science to Non-Scientists
This webinar is a discussion between David Goldston from MIT and Jennifer Poulakidas from the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities on how to successfully convey one’s scientific work to the public, including government officials and staffers. These experts provide best practices on how to begin working on local policy, effectively shift perspectives, and cultivate engaging conversations.

Value Based Messaging: Using Words that Work
This online webinar hosted by the Berkeley Media Studies Group outlines how to effectively develop one’s message while also incorporating the values that are embedded within one’ work.

Speaking with the Public
Designed by the Center for Disease Control, this online module provides academics with best practices for communicating on health topics.

Public Speaking
This online course, hosted by the Rochester Institute of Technology, offers information on the fundamentals of strong public speaking. Although one’s work with a legislature’s office is often one-on-one, this online course provides insights that are important regardless of the audience’s size.

Best Practices in Storytelling for Advocacy.
This online webinar led by Narativ and Open Society discusses how storytelling plays a critical role within advocacy to enable policy change.

Beyond Good Intentions: Storytelling and Responsible Communication in Global Health
Moderated by Unite for Site, this webinar discusses the vital role of storytelling within global health among seven experts. Panelists are associated with the Blue Butterfly Collaborative, PTI Advisors, Global Health Strategies, Chocolate Moose Media and Culture Shift, RESULTS, University of Houston Downtown, and Create 2030. Each panelist provided key best practices for incorporating storytelling and then answered various questions pertaining to effective storytelling methods.

Briefing Policymakers on Science-Related Issues
This article provides insightful tips for how to go about preparing a briefing paper on a scientific paper for busy policymakers. The article involves a step-by-step approach, as well as offering specific areas to be aware of when writing a briefing paper.

Training for Advocacy on the US Capitol Hill
Organized by GHTC and CUGH, this session instructs on how to advocate for Global Health R&D on the Capitol Hill with your elected officials.

Global Health Advocacy Guide
Written by The University of California’s Global Health Institute, this document outlines tips and practices for successful global health advocacy.

Engaging with Congress
Learn from 25-year Capitol Hill veteran, Stephanie Vance, on how to effectively engage with your elected officials. This session provides updates on current policy issues (as of September 2020), advice on researching your legislators, and best practices/techniques for developing a winning message. Stephanie shares strategies for successfully delivering your messages. Your voice is more important than ever in addressing the challenges we are facing. This training will strengthen your effectiveness on Capitol Hill.

Tools for Academic Engagement in Public Policy
This online course designed by MIT professors describes how legislation matriculates through the US government, including how Capitol Hill offices work with academic experts, and the vital role academics can play in shaping policies. The instructors also provide various suggestions on how academics can craft their “ask” most effectively.

ESEP Webinar Working with your State Legislature
Hosted by Engaging Scientists and Engineers in Policy (ESEP), Dr. Chris Rothfuss, Minority Floor Leader for the Wyoming State Legislature, and Dr. Debra Cooper, Policy Consultant for the California State Senate, discuss how scientists can become involved in their state legislatures. The speakers describe their own experiences in public policy and provide various suggestions based on their experience. This is an informative webinar for those interested in CUGH’s STAT or individuals who are already members of the advisory team.

Course: How to Communicate with Congress
This course developed by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) explains how to effectively communicate to members of Congress. Led by Sean Gallagher, Senior Government Relations Officer at AAAS, he covers why scientists should talk to policymakers, the organizational structure of Congressional offices, how best to write an influential letter, call one’s Congressperson, or arrange a meeting, as well as the need to follow up after initial engagement. Gallagher also incorporates various AAAS experts who have experience on Capitol Hill to discuss their Congressional experiences and tips.