Ellis N. Brandt Lecture Set for Feb. 11

Posted on: February 4, 2014


This year's Ellis N. Brandt Lecture on Public Relations in the Public Interest will feature Professor Glen Nowak, director of Grady College's Center for Health and Risk Communication at the University of Georgia and former head of media relations for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The lecture, "Communicating about Health, Medicine and Science: How Hard Can That Be?" is scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 11, at 7:15 p.m. in the College of Communication Arts and Sciences Building, Room 147. Light refreshments will be served starting at 6:30 p.m.

Prior to joining the Georgia faculty in January 2013, Nowak worked for 14 years at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, where he spent six years as director of media relations and six years as communications director for CDC's National Immunization Program.

He has experience in managing and implementing health and risk communications programs, media relations, health information campaigns and social marketing. Drawing upon this experience, his lecture will look at some of the challenges facing health and science communicators and identify approaches for increasing the likelihood of success.

"Every day, hundreds, if not thousands, of people and programs are trying to communicate health, medical and scientific information. Much of it seeks to influence or change people's health and science-related beliefs, behaviors and habits," Nowak said.

Besides his role at the University of Georgia, Nowak also serves as a senior communications consultant for the Task Force for Global Health. The task force is helping to develop communication and advocacy strategies related to the introduction of inactivated polio vaccines in 124 countries. These countries are currently only using oral polio vaccines as part of their routine immunization program. Nowak is involved in research and projects related to understanding and assessing vaccine confidence and acceptance.

The annual Ellis N. Brandt Lecture is sponsored by a generous endowment established in the mid-1990s by the Rollin M. Gerstacker Foundation in honor of Ellis N. "Ned" Brandt. Now retired, Brandt was a public relations leader for Dow Chemical Company. This was the first endowed professorship in the Advertising + Public Relations department and in the College of Communications Arts and Sciences.

Charles Salmon, former head of the public relations sequence at the University of Wisconsin - Madison, was appointed the first Brandt Professor. A few years later, the Gerstacker Foundation provided additional funding to convert the endowed professorship into an endowed chair and established the annual Ellis N. Brandt Lecture in Public Relations.

The current Brandt Chair is Associate Professor John Besley, who joined the Advertising + Public Relations faculty in 2012.

The 2014 Ellis N. Brandt Lecture is being co-hosted by the Brandt Chair, MSU's chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA), and the Central Michigan chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (CMPRSA).

If you plan to attend this year's lecture, please RSVP at this link to assist with planning for refreshments.


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