Assist Communities in Health Promotion by Expanding MCC’s Communications and Marketing Ability: 3
Communication barriers are often the root of why so many people have trouble accessing health services (and many other resources). The premise of MCC- connecting and communicating with families through their schools- largely solves that problem, but as Mobile Care evolves, and as the pandemic continues on, it’s not enough. If disinvested Chicago-area communities aren’t aware that MCC exists, or how our model of care works, we can’t effectively assist them in improving their health, even though we have the resources to do so.
Many people who need our services don’t have cell phones, smartphones, or access to the internet – where we promote our services on social media platforms and our website. The majority of our communities don’t have media sources engaged in sharing free resources, or active neighborhood facebook groups. To solve this problem, we do a little bit of everything. We’ve created materials for health fairs and back-to-school fairs, we’ve printed out flyers to pass out at food distribution sites, we’ve posted on facebook pages of local businesses and asked for help from those with reach in their communities. We make sure to use geotags and hashtags so if someone searches for free asthma care or free dental care in Chicago – MCC pops up. As a result, many patients were able to schedule appointments with us even when schools were closed.
We’ve also worked to create consistent branding and messaging that is true to our mission, messaging that helps people understand who we truly are. We don’t want anyone to assume that “free” means quick, low-quality care, or that they’ll eventually receive a surprise bill for our services.
There are web-based components in our communications plan as well: we plan to update the Mobile Care website, create video content, add tools like open booking, and maybe even a live map of our clinics. These tools have been requested by many of our patients and will be prioritized alongside the more traditional grassroots efforts described above.
There is always going to be more work to do on this item, however, and the work will always be varied. To effectively assist communities in health promotion, we need to continue to listen to the schools and communities we serve, analyze the response from each strategy we implement, and build communications and marketing strategies around what works best for our patients.
–Rachel Lessing, Communications & Development Manager