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Preparedness Messages in Church

May 26, 2008

The Pump Handle is a public health blog focused mostly on occupational health issues. It’s run by a group of some of the smartest people in the field, and is a regular read for me. It is, however, unusual to find something on their blog that is relevant to the things I post about. Yesterday, though, they had a great guest post about Southern churches and how they’re beginning to spread the message of environmentalism using the tagline, “If we don’t take care of God’s creation, who will?”

What does that mean for our discussions? Well, the author talks about bringing those churches onboard with disseminating health messages. Because of the type of messages that public health makes, especially about controversial issues like sexually transmitted diseases, I wonder about the feasibility of using churches in this way.

But what about using churches to disseminate preparedness messages? I think that’s a phenomenal idea!

What type of organization is a perfect conduit for message dissemination? One that’s available, credible, established, charitable and part of a community. What is a church? Available, credible, established, charitable and a part of the community. Amongst parishioners, the church can stand as the main social, spiritual and emotional centers to a place where all of your friends and neighbors go. In either case, and each case in between, the church is a tremendous way to get good information out to the public prior to an emergency. In places, such as the South, where the church is often the functional center of the town, these messages would be even more successful.

Furthermore, because of the unique role that many churches fill looking after the old, infirm and shut-ins, engaging them is a great way to ensure that traditionally very hard to locate special populations are taken care of.

I applaud Ally Petrilla for applying a great idea in a novel way, and giving us all the idea to extend our message to populations not usually hit with preparedness messages.

Photo credit: macieklew

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