Digital Strategies for Health Communication

July 16-20, 2018

This one-week course covers how to develop and implement a digital strategy to drive a health organization’s online presence, specifically the processes for selecting, using, managing, and evaluating the effectiveness of web, social media, and mobile technologies.

Learn from Tufts faculty and distinguished guest speakers how to:

  • Use the web, social media, and mobile devices to communicate with and connect to patients.
  • Develop a coherent and justifiable digital strategy for health communication.
  • Select, use, manage, and evaluate the effectiveness of technologies.
  • Define your mobile presence with apps and mobile-enabled sites.
  • Employ research-based methodologies such as persona development and formative evaluation.
  • Use best practices from leading health organizations. Previous case studies have included: ABC News Medical Unit, Consumer Reports, Harvard Health Publications, Massachusetts Medical Society, the CDC, and the American Society for Nutrition.

The course touches upon health communication theory, formative evaluation, and search engine optimization (SEO). Each year the course includes a case study for the week and hands-on team work during the course is used to revise the digital strategy for that organization. The case study for 2017 is WebMD.

Class size is limited to twenty students. Students include healthcare professionals; past participants came from organizations including the CDC, University of Bergen, Norway, Lahey Clinic, Massachusetts General Hospital, Fenway Health Center, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, Medtronic Diabetes Western Europe, Ospedale Pediatrico Bambino Gesù Rome, and the Kids with Food Allergies Foundation. The remainder of the class is made up of graduate students from Tufts University School of Medicine who will do pre-work and a final paper for course credit, and students enrolled in Tufts' Certificate in Digital Health Communication, who will also do post-work for credit.

The class takes place on Tufts University's Health Sciences Campus in downtown Boston and meets from 8:30 to 5:00, Monday through Friday. Meals and snacks are provided.

If your company or organization would like to put together a class of 15 to 20 participants, contact Sue Gallagher for more information. Our first client organization was Biogen in January 2016. 


“I’m really looking forward to using these skills in my future as a communications professional. I think they are all relevant and will absolutely push me forward in my career.”
- Holly Batchelder, Brand Manager, Seniorlink
Jessica Holland

“This was such a fantastic course and the paper was a great way to tie in all the things we learned. It was amazing to see how much we covered in one week! Thank you for all your hard work in making this a helpful academic and professional experience.”
- Jenny Holland, Clinical Research Coordinator II, Department of Psychiatry, Boston Children’s Hospital

“This course is excellent for taking a strategic approach to your online presence - not just throwing spaghetti at the wall and seeing what sticks, but really making a plan before you go ahead and start putting things online because it’s so hard to put things out there that people are actually going to use."
- Cathy Leamy, Medical Editor for the Primary Care Office In-site Website, Massachusetts General Hospital.

Contact the course director, Lisa Gualtieri, with any questions about the course.