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Rural Health Information Hub

Audiences and Communication Strategies

Rural community health programs may share information with a range of audiences. Communication strategies may differ depending on the audience. Key strategies include identifying the audience and tailoring messages to the intended audience. Developing a communication plan can help guide appropriate and effective communication approaches. Common rural audiences include policymakers, healthcare providers, and community members.


Providing succinct and understandable messages is key when communicating with policymakers. Data and statistics should be presented in a way that are easy to understand. To ensure relevance, programs should deliver concise messages and communication materials. Examples include one-page summaries, memos, policy briefs, or policy analyses.

Healthcare Providers

Rural programs often need to communicate with a range of healthcare providers and organizational contacts. Healthcare organization audiences to consider include:

  • Healthcare providers and staff, both internal and external to your organization
  • Community health workers
  • Caregiver groups
  • Public health departments
  • Rural health associations
  • Hospital associations

Rural community health programs implemented by or in partnership with healthcare organizations should maintain clear and open channels of communication with all staff. Programs should provide information to employees promptly in both written and electronic format. Routine communications can be delivered via emails, staff meetings, or other internal communications. It is also important to provide a contact person who is available to answer questions and connect employees to additional resources, when needed.

Broader communication, such as information networks and listservs, can connect providers across different organizations. Journal articles, newsletters, and other publications can be disseminated through these channels.

Community Groups

Rural community health programs should deliver concise and clear messages to the community. Communication materials should be understandable for people of all backgrounds and translated when necessary. Using a health equity lens will ensure the information is accessible, understandable, and practical for all community members.

Community audiences to consider include:

  • Individuals
  • Schools
  • Universities
  • Nonprofit organizations
  • Faith-based organizations
  • Other community-based groups

Communicating with the community can happen in a variety of ways. Direct engagement with community members can be achieved through personal contact at community events, such as public meetings, local events, or community celebrations. Public and civic group meetings provide a forum to discuss relevant issues and to present focused messages.

For more information on communications with the public, see Health Communication Strategies in the Rural Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Toolkit.

Resources to Learn More

Center for Disease Control and Prevention's Health Equity Guiding Principles for Inclusive Communication
This resource provides further information and resources on equitable strategies and principles for communication to multiple audiences.
Organization: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention