April 29, 2024

Nicole Sadow-Hasbenberg began teaching health communications with the Public Health Management Certificate (PHMC) in 2019.

We recently sat down with Nicole to discuss her background, her approach to teaching, and how these materials can help the program’s scholars become more effective managers. “I’ve always had a passion for social justice and finding ways to improve health inequities,” Nicole explained. “I earned my MPH from UW in 1995, and since then I’ve worked in a variety of settings, including UW, Public Health - Seattle & King County, and the Department of Veteran Affairs.”

As Nicole’s experiences expanded, she increasingly found herself working on mass media campaigns and communications programming. “I have a lot of experience working at the intersection of communications and policy. One project I worked on focused on obesity and tobacco prevention in King County. Health communications were integral to how we partnered with school districts, city government, and community-based organizations to make positive, systems-wide changes.”

“One of the key things public health providers need to properly understand are the audiences we’re trying to reach, especially since those audiences are often so diverse,” Nicole said. “Understanding your audience, and then learning to match your message, product, and delivery to them, are central points we focus on throughout my class.”

“We spend a lot of time exploring ways to create strategically effective communications products. I have scholars look at a specific public health problem and create messaging to address it. After exploring how certain content might resonate with the intended audience, we run pilot tests to determine the best approaches, media, and tools to reach them.”

“My goal is to help scholars learn how to develop strategic communications plans that will advance the specific public health issues their organization is working on,” Nicole noted. “I want scholars to be able to design a product or message that will be useful and meaningful for their organization.”

Nicole is very intentional about incorporating DEI concepts and training into her course. “I want my scholars to become positive disruptors who are capable of dismantling broken systems. In order to do that, we need to explore the historical roots and biases that exist around certain messages and media. Once we understand those things, we can pivot to designing communications tools that can positively and effectively change systems.”

“I’m passionate about teaching this class, and I love working with scholars,” Nicole emphasized. “Scholars who are dedicated to the populations they work with and are willing to solve problems creatively can up their management skills by learning to design effective communications tools. These can lead to huge changes across systems, and I find it very exciting to be a part of that process.”

Applications for the 2024–25 program year will be accepted through May 31, 2024. Visit the Public Health Management Certificate to learn more and apply.