Media Advocacy Interactive Module - Letter to the Editor
Media Advocacy Interactive ModuleTarget Length: 30 minutesParticipants: Psychiatry residents and fellowsFacilitators: Media Relations staff, attendingsScenario: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 withserious and persistent mental illness. In the current budgetary environment, youhave learned that the State Office of Behavioral Health may be facing significantfunding cuts. You have been discussing this with colleagues, and are concerned thatthese budget cuts may mean significant changes in the care your patients mayreceive. You and your colleagues decide that a group of you should write a letter tothe 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?Remember to: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’scontact information, associated website)Directions:Have audience split up into groups of 2-3 members. The groups will be given 5-10minutes to develop an outline.Groups will hand-in their outlines to a facilitator. Facilitator should briefly reviewthe outlines and ask for a group to volunteer to review their outline. Facilitatorshould evaluate the outline and discuss with residents unexplored arguments,concerns, issues. If time permits, facilitator may review other outlines and provideconstructive 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.