Health Public Relations: Educating the Public is a Key Benefit

The case of intrauterine contraception (IUD) in the United States truly illustrates the importance of health public relations. Although the IUD is cheap, safe, and more effective than every other form of non-permanent contraception today, less than 1% of women in the United States use it. The initial decline in IUD use occurred during the 1980s as a result of published accounts of septic maternal death, PID, and infertility associated with the Dalkon Shield device. Although the warnings that emerged during this era are not applicable to today’s devices, the reputations of modern IUDs are unfairly tainted by the bad press of the ‘80s. The purpose of this article is to outline how a solid health public relations campaign could promote public health by eliminating misunderstandings surrounding the IUD .

Health public relations professionals typically spend a great deal of time communicating with healthcare providers and patients in order to ensure that they properly weight the benefits and costs of a drug or device. This kind of educational dialogue would do wonders for the IUD, for experts believe that many physicians would recommend the IUD for their patients if they had a firm grasp of the facts. Patients would also be more likely to adhere to these recommendations if health public relations professionals could help them understand why there are no longer serious risks associated with the IUD. Information that is exchanged during these health public relations discussions could also be incorporated into fliers and newsletters that are distributed within healthcare facilities.

A successful health public relations campaign would also include the promotion of current clinical studies documenting the safety and effectiveness of modern IUDs. This promotion would focus on an explanation of why evidence today shows that the troubling findings that emerged during the ‘80s are no longer relevant.

In order to reach women who get their health information from…

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