Monday, October 21, 2013

New Communication for an Established Program

Thank you for checking out our blog! I am Ben Hammett, the Communications Specialist for the Sexually Transmitted Infections/HIV Program at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. My position is a new one and represents a new direction for the prevention program’s communication efforts. I am very excited to see how my background in multi-media communication—including web design, graphic design, photography, videography and social media—can be used to improve the way this program communicates with its community.

I graduated in 2012 from Colorado State University with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Technical Communication. Last year I spent 6 months with the Boulder County Commissioners’ Office as an intern writing press releases and publishing newsletters. I helped open a beer bar–The Mayor of Old Town—in Fort Collins as a communications specialist and bartender. And yes, I do love beer. I also have experience as a freelance writer for the Coloradoan in Fort Collins and their health magazine Mind+Body.

I’m 27 years old, and I do realize that I look like I’m Justin Bieber’s age.  I grew up in Southern Michigan and have lived in Colorado for seven years. I love backpacking, snowshoeing, fly-fishing, wood working, photography, gardening, reading, writing, and sustainable living.

Here at the Department I will be using social media and web-based communication to strengthen the relationships between the prevention program, its contractors, community partners, service providers and the populations we serve.

By taking our communication efforts online we hope to:
  • Keep our stakeholders up-to-date about our current prevention work and policies.
  • Give those we work with an opportunity to give immediate feedback in an open way. 
  • Help Colorado’s STI/HIV prevention, care and treatment messages reach a wider audience, especially younger generations, in a direct effort to reduce stigma.  
  • Do our best to reduce the use of government buzzwords and acronyms—this will be a tough fight, one we may not win. 

The articles you read here should provide a window into what goes on in the prevention program. They will be written by us: surveillance gurus and disease intervention specialists; people new to the Department or supervisors with 15 years in the field. And from this blog we will continue to move our communication forward by carefully adopting new online media and technologies as we find them to be useful.

I greatly appreciate your interest. If you have any questions, comments or ideas that might make this blog better, please send them my way.


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