What's New

Broadening Understandings of Oral Health
 (February 14, 2018)

The FrameWorks Institute released a new communications toolkit today to help advocates broaden public understanding of oral health in America. The toolkit includes strategies and tools advocates can use to help the public understand the connection between oral health and overall health and the systemic causes and consequences of poor oral health. Tools include ready-to-go infographics, sample blog posts, draft legislative testimony, and social media posts. It was produced in partnership with Oral Health 2020, a network dedicated to improving oral health for all people, and sponsored by the DentaQuest Foundation. It is part of a comprehensive suite of research and resources exploring how the public thinks about oral health, how it is framed in the news media and in the advocacy field, and how communicators can reframe it to build public support for solutions.

New Studies Identify Challenges in Advocating for a Safer Health Care System
 (January 22, 2018)

The FrameWorks Institute released two new reports today designed to help advocates make a stronger case for a safer health care system. The first, Safety Is More than Caring: Mapping the Gaps between Expert, Public, and Health Care Professional Understandings of Patient Safety , explores how members of the public and health care professionals think about patient safety.

The second, Telling a Story of Safety: Media and Organizational Discourse on Patient Safety , summarizes how advocacy organizations and the news media frame the issue. The reports were supported by the Betsy Lehman Center for Patient Safety and are the first in a series of studies designed to identify a strategy to reframe patient safety and improve the health care system.

Looking back on 2017
 (December 29, 2017)

This handy, clickable chart compiles all the framing studies and toolkits that FrameWorks published in the past year.

New Article Explores Public Thinking about Prenatal Exposure to Alcohol
 (November 01, 2017)

Advocates working to prevent and address fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) are operating in a challenging cultural environment. A new article by FrameWorks staff explores why—and offers recommendations advocates can use to make a stronger case for policies and programs to prevent and address FASD. The article summarizes FrameWorks research into expert and public views of FASD in Manitoba, Canada. It also makes recommendations that advocates can put to immediate use to communicate more effectively about the disorder. The peer-reviewed article was published in Studies in Media and Communication and is authored by FrameWorks CEO Nat Kendall-Taylor and Assistant Director of Research Marissa Fond.

Taking a Two-Science Approach to Advocate for Science
 (October 04, 2017)

Science is a public good that benefits all and must be available to all. This article helps scientists (and those who communicate on their behalf) make that case to the public. It explores how a "two-science" approach--one that combines scientific inquiry with communications science--can help the public understand scientific facts and findings and build public and political will for social change. It was published in The Blur, the online magazine of the Center for Social Impact Communication at Georgetown University.

A Two-Science Approach to Science Communications
 (October 02, 2017)

How can advocates and experts bust myths, combat misinformation, and spread science? In an era of "fake news" and "alternative facts," this question is as important as ever. FrameWorks Institute CEO Nat Kendall-Taylor and Researcher Emilie L’Hôte offer answers in a Q&A in published by the Society for Research in Child Development on behalf of the University-Based Child and Family Consortium. They discuss communications strategies for reaching out to members of the public, the use of metaphor in scientific communications, and the need to take a "two-science" approach to science communications.

Moving Beyond Stigma of Mental Health Issues
 (September 26, 2017)

The FrameWorks Institute released a new report today that explores how the public thinks about issues related to mental health. It finds encouraging news: most people strongly believe that mental health should not be stigmatized. Nevertheless, stigma persists because of deep, underlying assumptions that position people with mental health disorders as different, apart, and abnormal. Supported by the Colorado Health Foundation and the Tri-County Health Department of Colorado, this report is based on interviews with experts in mental health and members of the public in Colorado and builds on research into a wide range of issues related to health.

Building Public Understanding to Build Public Will to End Homelessness
 (September 14, 2017)

Experts and advocates have a new resource to guide communications about homelessness in the United Kingdom. Finding a Better Frame: How to Create More Effective Messages on Homelessness in the United Kingdom  explores how the British public thinks about homelessness and how the issue is framed in advocacy and media materials. The report makes recommendations that advocates can put to immediate use in communicating more effectively about the issue. It was produced in collaboration with Crisis, a leading non-profit organization in the United Kingdom, and adds to related research FrameWorks has conducted in the areas of housing, socioeconomic diversity, and poverty.

Communicating Child Mental Health
 (August 02, 2017)

Can frames make change? The short answer is ‘Yes.’ FrameWorks CEO Nat Kendall-Taylor and Senior Writer and Editor Allison Stevens elaborate in a new open-access book on child and adolescent mental health. In Chapter 3, Kendall-Taylor and Stevens explore how advocates and experts can use communications science to translate the science of child mental health. The goal is to build public understanding of the science of child mental health, which will, in turn, build public support for policies that can promote it. It is based on research conducted by the FrameWorks Institute on issues including early childhood development, child mental health, and other areas. The book is free and available to the public.

Overcoming Fatalism About Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder
 (June 27, 2017)

Experts and advocates have a new resource to guide public communications about fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD). The report—Seeing the Spectrum: Mapping the Gaps between Expert and Public Understandings of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder in Manitoba—compares expert and public views of FASD in Manitoba, Canada. It also makes recommendations that advocates can put to immediate use to communicate more effectively about the disorder. It was produced in collaboration with Healthy Child Manitoba and with support from the Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries Corporation, and adds to related research FrameWorks has conducted in the areas of health, substance use, and brain development.

The Science of Storytelling
 (June 15, 2017)

How can advocates use communications to advance social change? FrameWorks’ CEO Nat Kendall-Taylor tackles this and other questions about the science of storytelling in a recent TEDx MidAtlantic talk. “Understanding is frame-dependent,” Kendall-Taylor says. The choices we make when we communicate about an issue—what we say, how we say it, and what we don’t say—influence how people think about and respond to the issue. The way we frame an issue, in other words, can lead the public to dramatically different perceptual and behavioral outcomes. Watch Kendall-Taylor’s talk on framing fundamentals to learn more about how frames drive social change.

Elevating Oral Health
 (June 07, 2017)

A new MessageMemo, sponsored by the DentaQuest Foundation, provides recommendations, including a new metaphor, for advocates to effectively communicate about oral health.

A Science-Based Approach to Science Advocacy
 (May 17, 2017)

How can scientists advocate for science at a time when it is sometimes perceived as capricious, uncertain, and of little value or relevance to society and social change? And how can they do so in a way that goes beyond traditional efforts to raise awareness and educate the public about science and instead change people’s minds and attitudes about it? Nat Kendall-Taylor, chief executive officer of the FrameWorks Institute, and Pat Levitt, professor of neurogenetics at the University of Southern California, offer answers in a new article in Neuron, an influential journal of neuroscience. In “Beyond Hat in Hand: Science Advocacy is Foundational for Policy Decisions,” Kendall-Taylor and Levitt argue for a two-science approach to science translation, one that integrates the science of communication with the science of brain development. “It is clear that scientists need to cultivate a greater recognition of the value of science and encourage its use in advancing societal benefits,” they write. “The good news is we don’t have to guess how to do this. We can use science.”

Putting Elder Abuse on the Public Agenda
 (May 15, 2017)

The FrameWorks Institute released a comprehensive set of research and resources today that advocates and experts can use to raise the salience of elder abuse, help the public understand it, and build support for solutions to it. Strengthening the Support summarizes and synthesizes FrameWorks research into framing elder abuse and outlines a practical, actionable communications strategy. And Talking Elder Abuse offers evidence-based tools to help the public understand elder abuse, change perceptions of it, and build support for solutions to it. These resources were sponsored by Archstone Foundation, the John A. Hartford Foundation, and Grantmakers in Aging, and were conducted in partnership with the National Center on Elder Abuse at the Keck School of Medicine of University of Southern California. They build on earlier research into cultural attitudes and beliefs about elder abuse and were produced alongside a related set of materials about reframing aging.

An Attitude Adjustment on Aging
 (April 11, 2017)

In our youth-obsessed culture, aging is primarily understood as a personal fate to avoid, not a social issue that demands a public response. How can advocates working to change the conversation on aging navigate public thinking to spark dialogue, shift perceptions, and build support for necessary policy changes? A major new body of framing research offers important guidance for communicating about the issues facing older people, including ageism. Gaining Momentum is a collection of resources to help advocates drive a more productive narrative about how to capture the benefits of an increase in the average lifespan.

Statement on Repeal of North Caroline's HB2
 (April 03, 2017)

FrameWorks Board Chair and CEO issued a statement on the repeal of North Carolina's House Bill 2. 

A Playbook for Reframing School Discipline Reform
 (March 22, 2017)

FrameWorks recently released a set of recommendations to help advocates ensure their messaging on restorative school discipline practices gains public understanding. Supported by Open Society Foundations Racial Equality Fund, "Reframing School Discipline: A Strategic Communications Playbook" is a timely update for the field.

Getting Below the Surface
 (March 01, 2017)

The health of our ocean is under threat, yet few outside the scientific community understand why—or what we can do to address it. In a new analysis of how the UK public thinks about marine issues, FrameWorks points to ways to include the ocean in discussions of climate change and build support for stronger marine conservation efforts.

Your Nonprofit’s Role in Reframing the Post-Election Discourse
 (February 16, 2017)

All elections promote and suppress ideas about how the world works—but the 2016 presidential campaign was stunning in its toll on ideas central to the mission of nonprofit organizations. In a new analysis in Nonprofit Quarterly, FrameWorks Institute CEO Nat Kendall-Taylor and founder Susan Nall Bales analyze the election's impact on public thinking and discuss the implications for nonprofit communications. The authors pinpoint the aspects of American culture that have become more dominant—or “easier to think”—due to recent rhetoric as well as those that now more recessive and “harder to think.” Advocates, they add, should "forget slogans" and take time to explain how social problems work and how to solve them.

STEM Starts Early: Grounding Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math Education in Early Childhood
 (February 02, 2017)

The Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop and New America released a new report about the need for and benefits of early STEM learning and makes recommendations to support it. It features an article by the FrameWorks Institute that lays out a clear narrative that science and education advocates can use to unite around science-based communications. The report—STEM Starts Early: Grounding Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Education in Early Childhoodwas released on Feb. 2.

FrameWorks Institute