Join BMSG at APHA 2016

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Headed to Denver for this year's annual meeting of the American Public Health Association? We invite you to check out BMSG's presentations and posters. We'll share highlights from a wide range of our latest research, from abortion stigma in the media to news portrayals of community violence.

To view the full APHA online program, visit To tweet our sessions, use #phiAPHA or #APHA16.

We hope to see you there!

BMSG's APHA sessions

Traffic safety in the news: Implications and opportunities for prevention-centered collective action
Monday, Oct. 31 at 10:30 a.m.

Hundreds of people are seriously injured or killed traveling San Francisco streets each year. These tragedies are preventable — but they're not often seen that way. To better understand the public discourse around the issue and to support the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency's Vision Zero campaign, which aims to eliminate traffic deaths, we analyzed how debates about safe and equitable mobility are framed in English- and Spanish-language news and blogs around the Bay Area.

In this poster presentation, we will share the results of our analysis, which suggests framing and messaging challenges and opportunities that can help advocates, journalists and policymakers improve news coverage and build support for traffic safety policies and equitable mobility.

Follow the leader: Comparing Coca-Cola's current obesity strategy to Philip Morris' 'societal alignment' makeover strategy
Tuesday, Nov. 1 at 9:30 a.m.

In 1999, Philip Morris (PM) unveiled a campaign to improve its image in order to stave off increasingly harsh public scrutiny, litigation and impending regulatory the company continued to conduct business as usual, yet it helped the company directly influence legislation authorizing the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to regulate its products. In 2013, Coca-Cola debuted a pair of advertisements and a website trumpeting its intention to be part of the solution in addressing obesity, and in 2015 it launched a website disclosing its contributions and partnerships with various institutions, community interest groups, medical facilities, and federal and state anti-obesity efforts.

In this presentation, we will share findings from an examination of the similarities and differences between Coca-Cola's and Philip Morris' corporate social responsibility tactics and rhetoric. We will discuss how Coca-Cola uses these tactics to enhance its corporate image, sell more product and influence regulatory action. We will also provide information to help advocates develop effective counter-strategies that can reframe perceptions of the soda and junk food industries as disease vectors on par with Big Tobacco, neutralize Coca-Cola's CSR tactics through denormalization, and build support for the robust policy agenda necessary to combat obesity.

'Regret', 'Risk', and 'Murder': An analysis of abortion stigma in the news 
Tuesday, Nov. 1 at 10:30 a.m.

Abortion regularly makes headlines, but do those headlines help or hurt efforts to destigmatize the issue? Berkeley Media Studies Group has partnered with the Sea Change Program to identify abortion stigma in the media and develop strategies to address it. As part of that project, we explored news coverage, which shapes and reflects how the public and policy makers understand issues.

During this presentation, we will share insights from our analysis of how abortion is framed in mainstream news coverage, as both a political and a women's health issue. We will also discuss strengths of the coverage and opportunities to build upon them, as well as offer recommendations for journalists, health practitioners and advocates on how to improve news coverage of abortion to address stigma and best inform the public and policymakers.

Talking about sexual violence: Identifying messages that build support for prevention 
Tuesday, Nov. 1 at 2:30 p.m.

Sexual violence attracts lots of media attention, but one key fact often gets too little attention: Sexual violence is preventable. Berkeley Media Studies Group is collaborating with the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC) to help advocates and practitioners get better at talking about prevention. During the first two years of a five-year project, we conducted research and partnered with field leaders to identify challenges and opportunities in communicating about sexual violence prevention. We then collaborated with a message-testing firm to explore which messages about prevention resonate with policy makers and the general public.

In this round table discussion, we will highlight key findings from the message testing process, including answers to questions like: Which messages increase the perception that prevention is possible? Which messages boost support for the specific types of prevention policies? Who should deliver prevention messages to activate policy makers, decision-makers, and the general public toward policy change? We will also discuss the implications of these findings for public health professionals and violence prevention advocates, including how the messages could fit into a larger strategy to frame sexual violence as a preventable public health problem.

An analysis of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) in the national news: Increasing visibility of prevention-based solutions 
Tuesday, Nov. 1 at 4:30 p.m.

Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), which include several types of childhood trauma, are implicated in widespread physical, mental, and social health consequences. However, describing the long-term impact of childhood trauma, and how to prevent and address it, has proved challenging. One step toward developing more effective strategies to communicate about ACEs is to find out how the problem currently appears in the media. News coverage can provide important clues about what information the public and policymakers are likely to be exposed to about childhood trauma and what to do about it.

In this poster session, we will share findings a content analysis of news articles about ACEs in 2014-2015, years marked by high-profile public debates about community violence, structural racism and other sources of trauma. The poster will explore trends in that coverage, including questions like: When ACEs appear in news coverage, why? Who speaks in the coverage? How, if at all, do solutions appear? Does the news reinforce problematic ideas about what trauma is, who it impacts, and what can be done about it? We will also discuss the important opportunities that our work uncovers for journalists, advocates and health practitioners who seek to improve expand the coverage of ACEs and increase the visibility of solutions that could prevent childhood trauma and build resilient, trauma-informed communities.

Shifting the discourse towards prevention: An analysis of community violence in California news coverage 
Wednesday, Nov. 2 at 8:30 a.m.

Community violence happens every day, but how does it appear in the news? Analyzing news coverage provides a window through which we can assess the public discourse around community violence — and how to prevent it.

Our recent analyses of news coverage on community violence and community safety between 2013 and 2015 found that stories about community violence or community safety appeared infrequently — but when they did appear, they tended to focus on solutions. We also found that coverage of solutions has shifted from a focus on policing and criminal justice to a focus on community-based violence prevention programs. We also saw an emerging narrative that situated police violence as a threat to community safety and a marked increase in news coverage that mentioned racial inequity and the need to challenge negative perceptions of young men of color.

In this presentation, we will discuss the implications of these findings and make recommendations for violence prevention advocates in California and elsewhere to improve news coverage and shift the discourse toward preventing violence and building safe communities.

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