As the field of public health works to achieve better population health outcomes, public health informatics—the science of managing public health information—provides vital support to those who do this work. Specialists in informatics design and implement systems that efficiently handle the massive amounts of data that are crucial to public health practice, and provide accurate, timely, and relevant information that enhances decision-making and ultimately improves population health outcomes.
In spite of its important role, informatics is not widely understood in the field of public health—and as a result, its expertise and contributions are often invisible, underutilized, and under-resourced. Recognizing this challenge, the Public Health Informatics Institute, a program of the Task Force for Global Health, with support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, collaborated with the FrameWorks Institute to explore how public health professionals understand the core functions and principles of the science of public health informatics—and how reframing strategies can help experts communicate more consistently and strategically about their field and its work.
**NEW** Reframing Public Health Informatics: A FrameWorks Communications Toolkit (2016). This comprehensive toolkit was designed to help public health professionals, experts, and advocates communicate more effectively about informatics. It includes responses to frequently asked questions, talking points, and public health informatics examples, sample communications, and visuals; guidance on how to use FrameWorks' recommended metaphors and values; and other communications resources. It was supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Making Public Health Informatics Visible: Communicating an Emerging Field. (July 2015) This report details the important challenges that experts in public health informatics face in communicating with professionals who work in—or who influence—the broader field of public health. These challenges—such as the fact that non-experts do not see public health informatics as a science, or even as a field of practice or expertise—impede the full incorporation of informatics into public health practice, and lead to a lack of appreciation of the potential of informatics to improve population health outcomes. The report concludes with initial reframing recommendations that can be used to address these communications challenges and suggestions for future research on developing an evidence-based Core Story of Public Health Informatics.