Inclusion of social marketing objectives on the nation's health agenda: A case study
Social marketing is a widely accepted approach to addressing public health problems. It has been used by many public health organizations to address numerous issues including utilization of public health services as well as chronic disease management. This case study will recount how social marketing was included among the Healthy People 2020 objectives and, in the process, will allude to ramifications for public health practice and education. An ad hoc committee of public health professionals used consensus buildingcombined with commitments by an academic institution to evaluate the extent of the objectives' attainmentto foster inclusion of social marketing in Healthy People 2020. The Healthy People initiative provides evidence-based, national objectives for health improvements within the United States. Now, Healthy People 2020 includes three social marketing objectives: (1) Increase the proportion of state health departments that use social marketing; (2) Increase the proportion of Schools of Public Health and accredited MPH programs that offer one or more courses in social marketing; and (3) Increase the proportion of Schools of Public Health and accredited MPH programs that offer workforce development activities in social marketing. Inclusion in Healthy People 2020 has the potential to be a watershed moment for the joint interests of public health and social marketing. More public health professionals and educators will know that agencies that fund and oversee public health programs endorse the use of social marketing.