Communications Outreach Ranges from Mirror Clings to E-mails

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The University of Michigan used a variety of communications tactics, from old-fashioned to of-the-moment methods, to reach as many members of the campus community as possible with information on H1N1.

A key step in communicating was making information easy to find and use. The university did that in the virtual world by reorganizing its Web site to consolidate all H1N1 information in an easy-to-use format. Physically placing the information in front of students on campus was also a high priority, said Andrew Burchfield, Manager of the Office of Emergency Preparedness. The university developed a series of posters and mirror clings with hygiene and prevention messages. Those were broadly distributed across campus.

In addition, the university brought medical experts in to answer questions through a "fluquestions" e-mail address. The email address yielded hundreds of specific questions from students, staff and parents about all aspects of flu on campus.

Those e-mails went to the Office of Public Affairs and Media Relations, where they were reviewed. In many cases someone from that office was able to reply with the answer, Burchfield said. In cases where they could not respond themselves, the e-mail was forwarded to two medical doctors in health services, who then responded.

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