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The John A. Hartford Foundation Communications & Dissemination Initiative: Building Your Bandwidth for Better Communication

Effective communication is essential if we hope to achieve our common goal of improving the health of older adults. We must clearly articulate the problems and special needs of older people in our health care system to focus the attention of policy makers, health system leaders, and the general public. We must translate the scientific and technical language of the promising solutions our grantees have created into comprehensible and implementable ideas.

This is why the John A. Hartford Foundation has invested in our Communications and Dissemination Initiative, and why we are sharing some of the resources and tools we have developed with our network of grantees and friends.

Communications Resources for Individuals

During the last 30 years, the John A. Hartford Foundation has supported curricular change projects and the careers of over 1,000 aging-expert faculty members across the country. We have funded researchers to test and disseminate improved models of health care delivery for older patients. The Foundation has invested in building leaders who can change education and practice. Communications is critical to these leaders’ success, and good communications takes instruction and practice.

To help students, junior faculty, and staff from grantee organizations better tell the world about their work, we offer several resources through the John A. Hartford Foundation Communications and Dissemination Initiative. We hope these tools, developed by our communications and aging experts at Strategic Communications and Planning, prove useful to our larger network of grantees and friends. We welcome any questions or feedback.


Looking for the right photo to include in your PowerPoint or poster presentation? Need a tutorial on how to write a strong, compelling research abstract? Struggling with how to boil your geriatrics research interest into something your mother (or even a clinician from another discipline) can understand? Then look no further. BandwidthOnline.org is a free, online communications resource website available to the Hartford network and the general public. On the site, you can find data points, graphs, stories, and free images of older adults in a variety of settings. You can learn how to write a press release or how to begin your CV. You can also contribute your own tips and resources to the site.

Communications Training Webinar Series for Hartford Scholars and Grantees 

Our communications experts at Strategic Planning and Communications have developed popular and highly rated sessions on a variety of communications topics.They frequently present at conferences and meetings, but in case you’ve missed them, a new online webinar series can provide you with in-depth skill-building on topics such as creating a highly effective scientific poster or developing an “elevator speech.” These interactive sessions for Hartford scholars and grantees are convenient and easy to connect to online. And in case you can’t participate in the live format, recordings are available. You can view the previous two sessions below, where you will also see the upcoming webinar line-up.


We will be bringing other communications webinars to you throughout the year, including:

Too often, the presentations we see in academic, scientific, or even community settings fail to engage their audience and communicate clearly. This workshop will help you develop dynamic, visually appealing slides and craft engaging talks that leave your audience with a crystal clear understanding of your message.
Tuesday, August 14, 2012
12pm-1:15pm EST
Register here: https://cc.readytalk.com/r/cy75w1c9n9lo


Posters are an underutilized opportunity to get your work noticed. This 75-minute webinar will help you create a message-driven poster that makes an impact at your next poster session. The webinar has been designed specifically to meet the needs of scholars/fellows/junior faculty members and will help you understand the four basic steps to more effective posters.
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
12pm-1:15pm EST
Register here: https://cc.readytalk.com/r/dowoh150h2b8


Check BandwidthOnline.org regularly for registration information.

Annual Hartford Interdisciplinary Communications Training Conference

Each summer we invite select Hartford scholars and grantees to an intensive three-day training session on communications. Expert faculty conduct workshops, and participants have ample opportunities to practice newly learned skills. If you are interested in next summer’s conference, please contact your Hartford grant program administrator.

Communications Resources for Organizations and the Field

Beyond helping individuals in the aging and health field develop their communications capacity, the John A. Hartford Foundation also engages in broader communications efforts to help our grantees and their issues gain the attention they deserve. Through our Communications and Dissemination Initiative, we offer resources to our grantees and colleague organizations and engage in outreach to the media and general public.

Communications Consulting for Grantees

Grantees may be eligible for communications consulting support through their grant or other mechanisms. Please contact your program officer for more information.

Our New Website

We have recently redesigned our website, www.jhartfound.org. We now have the ability to quickly post your events and news and keep you and your constituents informed about specific grant projects that registered users can “follow.”

The Health AGEnda Blog

Our Health AGEnda blog on current health and aging issues offers health care policy commentary and highlights the work of our grantees. You always have the opportunity to respond via comments, and we welcome suggestions for topics and guest contributors.

Media Outreach and Public Engagement

The John A. Hartford Foundation has engaged in a partnership with the Association of Health Care Journalists. In addition to sponsoring their annual conference, Hartford support has helped build an aging resource
page for journalists

We have also begun sponsorship of the MetLife Foundation Journalism in Aging Fellows Program, administered by the Gerontological Society of America (GSA). Each year, we will support one MetLife/Hartford Foundation Journalism Fellow in Aging and Health, who will attend the annual GSA annual meeting and report on relevant topics over the course of a year.

The John A. Hartford Foundation also conducted our first-ever public opinion poll in 2012, “How Does it Feel? The Older Adult Health Care Experience.” This nationally representative poll asked over 1,000 older adults about their experience and satisfaction with their primary care. While respondents were overwhelmingly satisfied, the poll revealed troubling gaps in key geriatrics services, like falls prevention and depression screening. We provided a preview briefing for grantees, along with templates for press releases and announcements that could be tailored to specific organizations and issues.

This was the first in a series of public polls, and we welcome your feedback and suggestions for future topics. Similarly, we welcome your input on our communications resources more broadly. Please let us know what is working for you and how we can shape this investment to help you communicate more effectively.  You can contact Marcus Escobedo at marcus.escobedo@jhartfound.org with your comments and suggestions.


3 thoughts on “The John A. Hartford Foundation Communications & Dissemination Initiative: Building Your Bandwidth for Better Communication

  1. Great description of the Bandwidth resources and what we are trying to do in support of the grantees and the mission. I hope you get lots of comments and suggestions for more we can do to help.

  2. These are good ideas and good intentions. Kudos!

    If I may suggest, a section on resources will be great where people can quickly access free or paid information on how to do various tasks. Many a good idea gets postponed till tomorrow as the person doesn’t know where to find the relevant information. And we know what happens tomorrow.

    I will volunteer a couple of sites:

    1. Fiverr.com – for getting small technical issues taken care of like making a logo, or a report cover or fixing a bug in your blog etc.

    2. For writing press releases: http://bloggerkhan.com/how-to-write-a-press-release/686

    3. bit.ly – for shortening long URLs.

    Just my two cents.

  3. Pingback: Communications Resources to Help Grantees Build Their Bandwidth | Health AGEnda

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