Pamela Bruno, Colleen Fuller, Hannah Ruhl, Lori Kaley, Patricia Dushuttle

Advancing Inclusive Communication: Implementing an Audit to Center Equity in SNAP-Ed Programming

  • Nursing (miscellaneous)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

Public health interventions rely on information exchange to influence health outcomes. Increasingly, practitioners are working to be intentional with public health messaging. The language used to communicate program objectives and health recommendations should reflect the community’s lived experience and avoid perpetuating health and social inequities. Words and tone matter, and both should be inclusive and non-stigmatizing. Prioritizing a health equity lens for communication may require a critical review and revision of existing materials. This Practice Note highlights the development and implementation of an audit tool designed to systematically review a cookbook created to support healthy eating for families and individuals experiencing low income and participating in a Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program–Education (SNAP-Ed) intervention in Maine. The purpose of the audit tool and the collaborative review process was to revise the cookbook content to ensure a weight-neutral, empowering approach to supporting the community’s nutritional needs. The audit process resulted in a comprehensive methodology to examine intervention resources for inclusive communication approaches that avoid deficit framing, use person-first language, and do not overemphasize limited resources or appropriate cultures. The instrument and methodology are conceptually replicable and adaptable. In sharing the process and audit results, the authors seek to provide an example for practitioners to draw from for similar critical reviews of public health intervention resources and promotional materials.

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