Media Advocacy Interactive Module - Letter to the Editor
Media Advocacy Interactive Module
Target Length: 30 minutes
Participants: Psychiatry residents and fellows
Facilitators: Media Relations staff, attendings
You are a psychiatrist at a major academic medical center in a large urban area
(which happens to be the state capital), working predominantly with adults with
serious and persistent mental illness. In the current budgetary environment, you
have learned that the State Office of Behavioral Health may be facing significant
funding cuts. You have been discussing this with colleagues, and are concerned that
these budget cuts may mean significant changes in the care your patients may
receive. You and your colleagues decide that a group of you should write a letter to
the editor addressing these concerns. You gather to develop an outline of the letter.
Questions to consider:
What is your objective? What do you want your letter to achieve?
Who is the intended audience? Are there more than one?
What is the message you want to convey?
What relevant, respected data can you utilize support your message?
Will other individuals or groups collaborate with you?
Will you need institutional buy-in or approval before submitting this?
Develop 1-2 key themes/thoughts that you want to convey. Succinctly, clearly,
professionally develop these key themes.
Cite evidence, if you have any.
Consider giving information to encourage advocacy (e.g. helpline, legislator’s
contact information, associated website)
Have audience split up into groups of 2-3 members. The groups will be given 5-10
minutes to develop an outline.
Groups will hand-in their outlines to a facilitator. Facilitator should briefly review
the outlines and ask for a group to volunteer to review their outline. Facilitator
should evaluate the outline and discuss with residents unexplored arguments,
concerns, issues. If time permits, facilitator may review other outlines and provide
constructive feedback about strengths and weaknesses.
The last ~5 minutes at the end of the session should be used to solicit residents’
experience, evaluate challenges and/or surprises.