Job Summary Aligned with Cook County Department of Public Health’s (CCDPH)’s mission and strategic direction, the Director of Public Health Communications is responsible for embedding strategic communications across the department, with external stakeholders and the public. Oversees internal and external CCDPH communication initiatives, and is the Public Information Officer (PIO), in routine and emergency situations. This position is integral to building value for public health and CCDPH, influencing the narrative for health, well-being and equity, and informing the public of critical health-related information in routine and emergency situations.
Ensures the following in accordance with Public Health Accreditation Board requirements:
Implementation of CCDPH process to issue urgent and non-urgent health alerts to various stakeholders.
Development and implementation of CCDPH brand strategy, visual identity, and integrated brand messaging; and risk communication plan.
Timely communication with the public in a linguistically appropriate, culturally sensitive manner.
Development and maintenance of relationships with the media in order to increase the public’s understanding of public health and health equity.
Coordinates and ensures design, implementation and monitoring of communication strategies and activities that raise awareness and inform the public about public health and health equity, what CCDPH does, and any current and emerging health issues.
Directs, in collaboration with program staff and partners including CCH Communications, the development, execution, monitoring, and evaluation of evidence-based communications plans that use a combination of approaches and are solidly grounded in theory and formative research to achieve identified knowledge, attitude or behavior outcomes. This may include interpersonal, group, organizational and community, mass media, or digital interactive media channels.
Identifies opportunities to engage the media to highlight CCDPH programs and policies. Writes press releases and secures earned media. Collaborates with Cook County Health (CCH) Public Relations and CCDHP leadership to develop and execute story pitches to bring attention to and build value for the work of CCDPH and population health initiatives.
Analyzes media issues that have potential to affect public health, health equity, and the work of CCDPH. Identifies and researches potential media opportunities. Monitors news media daily, archiving agency press coverage.
Develops and maintains relationships with representatives from media outlets. Maintains database and background information for media contacts.
Provides strategic direction for the creation, design, and maintenance of CCDPH websites, social media, publications, and other marketing materials and reports. Updates and creates new content. Utilizes new technologies to increase communication with the community/target audiences. Assists in the writing, editing and designing of CCDPH publications and reports including newsletters, blogs, annual reports, brochures and other marketing materials.
Serves on the CCDPH Incident Management Team during public health emergencies. Develops and executes emergency communications and crisis communications plans in conjunction with agency public health preparedness staff.
Serves as the official agency media spokesperson (PIO) in routine and emergency situations. Responds to all media requests, as directed.
Advises CCDPH leadership on media issues. Works with leadership and staff to coordinate messages for press releases and other external communications for CCDPH programs, services and health-related topics. Trains and prepares leadership and subject-matter experts for media interviews.
Organizes CCDPH special events, press conferences, press availabilities, etc. and coordinates to align with CCH and other County agencies as appropriate.
Implements an editorial calendar that promotes agency priority initiatives, using both traditional and new media strategies. Writes editorials, letters to the editor, public health news columns, etc.
Creates and executes CCDPH internal staff communications plan. Creates tools for regular staff communication and provides CCPDH updates and program summaries for CCH Communications Leadership.
Leads the CCDPH Communications Committee and creates and implements committee work plan to advance communications objectives. Serves on various agency committees for promotion of awareness events, health initiatives, campaigns, etc.
Represents CCDPH on internal committees and a variety of local, state, and national committees.
Performs other duties as assigned.
Master’s degree from an accredited college or university with four (4) years media, public relations, or marketing experience in a public health department or a healthcare environment
Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university and seven (7) years of experience in media relations, public relations or marketing experience in a public health department or a healthcare environment.
Three (3) years of experience supervising and/or managing staff
Experience working with vendors
Position may require moderate travel for which the employee must have a valid driver’s license/insured vehicle or other equivalent means of transportation for work
Must be trained and certified in National Incident Management System (NIMS) FEMA IS-100, 200, 300, 400, 700 and 800 management within six (6) months of employment
Must be available to work evenings, weekends, and available for “on-call” duty as required
Bachelors degree or higher in Communications, Health Communications, Integrated Marketing, Journalism, Public Health, or other related health sciences or communications related field from an accredited college or university
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