Health Information Coalition (NPHIC)
is NPHIC’s Mission?
The National Public
Health Information Coalition is the premier network of public health
communicators in the United States and U.S. territories. We are committed
to "making public health public" by sharing our knowledge,
expertise, and resources to effectively communicate about the important
health issues of the day—helping people lead healthier lives in healthier
What is the role of NPHIC in a public health emergency?
NPHIC serves as a
channel for communication directors, public information officers, and risk
communicators at every state and territory health department to receive
real-time information about an emergency. The goal is a “many voices, one
message” response. With its robust network of communicators and history of
leadership, NPHIC increases the capabilities of public health communicators
to cascade emergency health messages throughout their jurisdictions quickly
and effectively. NPHIC also does that every day by sharing information
about current and chronic health concerns and providing support through its
website, conference calls, webinars, and other resources.
How do you plan for emergencies?
NPHIC builds on
lessons learned, but NPHIC’s real strength is in its membership. NPHIC
facilitates networking among its members, so they can share information
through NPHIC and not have to re-invent the wheel when time and resources
are strained. Post-event, NPHIC usually conducts regional calls where members
from across the country share their experiences—what worked, what didn’t,
and what should be done differently next time. That information comes from
the front lines, and NPHIC incorporates it into its planning.
What is one experience or lesson learned that you have from an emergency
In an emergency,
the health communicators with “boots on the ground” need to have the
facts—fast. They also need support from NPHIC colleagues who have
experienced similar crises and can share their resources and advice. One
member recently said that he learned “how important it is to know people
who are in other organizations and being able to trust them when they say
something or say they’ll provide information to you.” Others told NPHIC,
“The networking and opportunities that we have to work and share with and
learn from other health communicators is something that I have personally
found to be very valuable and beneficial.” And, “Honestly and truly, NPHIC
has been a great resource for me as a new person working in public health
communication.” Through disease outbreaks, severe weather incidents, and
myriad other crises, it has become clear that public health communicators
have a lead role in helping to keep people safe and out of harm’s way.
What is one piece of advice that you would give to other EPIC partners?
Get to know each
other. It’s often said, “You don’t want to be exchanging business cards
during an emergency.” NPHIC members benefit from interacting in calmer
circumstances so that when a public health emergency occurs, they know
where to find help. NPHIC is the conduit to getting them that help. Also,
familiarize yourself with the incident
communication resources on the NPHIC website. They might give you the
head start you need when you have no time to spare.