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Brenna Terry

Recent Posts by Brenna Terry

August 24, 2015

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Categories: Communications

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Do No Harm: Avoid “Statistical Malpractice”

Communications and complex math are traditionally at odds, but the disciplines are merging now more than ever for healthcare communicators. We are charged on a daily basis with adding creativity and color to often the most banal, icky or complex topics. Our targets are being bombarded by messaging 24/7, and it’s our job to make our clients’ news stand out from the clutter. We frequently must think “outside the box” to help generate interest in more challenging subject matters. To help quantify the impact of a particular issue. To make people want to care. Enter statistics. Public relations professionals use statistics in almost everything we do. Want to help a reporter better understand the impact of a particular disease state? Cross reference it with U.S. Census data and demonstrate how the prevalence and/or mortality rates are significantly higher than an everyday public health threat (e.g., car accidents). Want to showcase the local impact? Explain what the numbers mean in local sporting facility terms. From Omnibus to Harris Interactive surveys to compelling clinical study data, statistics are often our best friend. They feel irrefutable—because numbers never lie, right? In the TED Talk, “Own Your Body’s Data,” statistician Talithia Williams encourages viewersContinue Reading

September 8, 2014

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Categories: Global Healthcare

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Ebola is Here

At the age of 12, I went through that typical stage in any young woman’s life when she becomes obsessed with all things infectious diseases – particularly ebola. From watching Outbreak on repeat and imagining I would one day be the virologist that found the cure to reading Richard Preston’s The Hot Zone until I’d memorized every page and then moving on to Laurie Garret’s The Coming Plague – light reading, I know. I’d like to think it was this early interest in infectious diseases sparked my pursuit of a career in healthcare communications, but that’s a story I’ll save for another blog post on another day. As you can imagine, I’ve been following the recent outbreak of the Ebola Zaire Virus in Western Africa like it’s a second job. My heart goes out to the families that have lost loved ones and the countless healthcare workers and volunteers that have been striving to care for those affected and also keep the disease contained. So when I came across Uri Freedman’s article in The Atlantic, “How to Make a Hit Song About Ebola,” during my daily ebola search, my two worlds collided. I realized there is much we as healthcareContinue Reading

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