Strategic Communication Specialist

Posting Number: #121-21

Position Title: Strategic Communication Specialist

Closing Date: Until Filled

Location: Berkeley, CA

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The Public Health Institute (PHI) is an independent, nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting health, well-being, and quality of life for people throughout California, across the nation and around the world. As one of the largest and most comprehensive public health organizations in the nation, we are at the forefront of research and innovations to improve the efficacy of public health statewide, nationally, and internationally.

Position Summary

PHI is seeking a full-time Strategic Communication Specialist for the Berkeley Media Studies Group (BMSG), a program of PHI. This position is located in Berkeley, CA.

BMSG is committed to improving community health by building advocates’ capacity to make the case for policies that move us closer to racial and health equity. We do this through research, training, and strategic consultation: We teach advocates how to engage the news media strategically to advance healthy public policies on a range of public health and social justice issues, including violence prevention, nutrition and physical activity, tobacco control, reproductive justice, and more.

As part of the BMSG training team, the strategic communication specialist will develop and conduct media advocacy training for BMSG clients in various settings, from health departments to community-based grassroots organizations. The strategic communication specialist will also co-author BMSG publications and provide tailored technical assistance to support advocates in developing and carrying out their media advocacy plans.

This position will also work with BMSG’s Communication Manager to support BMSG’s online and social media strategy, contribute to the organization’s daily news monitoring, and help produce concise news digests that are shared with staff, clients, and advocates around the country. The digests inform readers about media advocacy insights related to news various public health topics, including health equity and racial justice, COVID-19, violence prevention, reproductive justice, the connection between environments and health, junk food marketing to communities of color, soda regulation, tobacco control, and the opioid crisis.

Essential Duties & Responsibilities

Training & strategic consultation

  • Collaborate with colleagues in designing, conducting, and evaluating virtual and in-person media advocacy training, webinars, and professional presentations with a wide range of community groups and public health professionals.
  • Assist with developing and adapting media advocacy training materials, including presentations, interactive training activities appropriate for virtual and in-person delivery, and case studies of public health advocacy campaigns.
  • Facilitate strategic consultation or technical assistance sessions with clients, providing guidance in communication strategy, direct feedback on communication materials, or coaching before a media interview.
  • Assist with developing strategic communication and media advocacy tools for BMSG clients, from worksheets to communication plans.
  • Draft strategic consultation materials, including editing and/or developing news releases, media advisories, talking points, blogs, and other products.
  • Write and edit media advocacy papers and case studies for publication in professional journals, newsletters, websites, and advocacy materials.
  • Conduct outreach and intake sessions with potential BMSG clients.
  • Assist with developing new project proposals and scopes of work.

 Media monitoring & communication

  • Track news coverage of public health issues in traditional and digital media (e.g., newspapers and blogs) and provide strategic consultation to support BMSG clients in taking advantage of media advocacy opportunities.
  • Contribute to BMSG’s daily news digest: perform daily scans of the news about relevant public health issues and summarize and/or edit summaries of the news coverage in concise digests.
  • Maintain BMSG’s social media presence on Twitter and Facebook, including by occasionally participating in live events and live-tweeting BMSG speaking engagements.

 Project management

  • Lead project management activities, including tracking, coordinate logistics, and monitoring of project deliverables for training related projects.
  • Prepare project progress reports for funders.
  • Attend various project and community meetings, and conferences.
  • Complete other writing, training, and strategic consultation projects as assigned.

Minimum Qualifications

  • A minimum of 5 years of relevant experience is required.
  • A bachelor’s degree or equivalent and/or certificate in public health, public policy, journalism or related field is required. A master’s degree is highly preferred.
  • Strong interest in public health, media, and communication and a commitment to racial and social justice.
  • Experience developing and delivering engaging, effective training for a variety of audiences.
  • Excellent public speaking and analytical skills.
  • Commitment to building capacity among advocates through training and strategic consultation so they can support community health and address racial and health inequities through narrative change.
  • Ability to write clearly and succinctly for a variety of audiences, and to edit client materials, including press releases, briefing materials, and opinion pieces, often under deadline pressure.
  • Experience working with news organizations — print, broadcast, or online — either inside newsrooms or as an advocate.
  • Experience providing effective strategic communication and/or advocacy consultations to a wide range of clients, for example elected officials, public health professionals, community residents, and community-based organizations.
  • Ability to work well with minimal supervision, to work collaboratively with other staff members, and to stay focused while handling multiple assignments and priorities.
  • Experience with social media management platforms (e.g. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.), and email marketing tools (e.g., Constant Contact).
  • Strong attention to detail, ability to take initiative, and good organizational skills.
  • Willingness to travel (once safe to do so) throughout California and nationally: once travel resumes, overnight travel is required and can be as often as once a week. (Availability on evenings and weekends occasionally required).
  • Proficiency in the Macintosh computer using System 10.5 or higher, Microsoft Word 2008 or higher, Excel and PowerPoint.

Desired Qualifications

  • Demonstrated understanding of the public policymaking process at the local, state, and federal levels. Direct experience working on public health and social justice campaigns and/or covering public health and social justice issues as a journalist and/or working internally within the legislative process on social justice and public health policy.
  • Experience developing communication strategies for advocacy campaigns.
  • Experience with content management systems, such as WordPress and Drupal
  • Working knowledge of basic HTML.
  • Experience with Photoshop.
  • Bilingual with the ability to speak and deliver training in a second language highly desirable.

Important Information

  • This is a full-time, benefits-eligible position.
  • Berkeley Media Studies Group is an equal opportunity employer and an inclusive organization. People of diverse backgrounds are strongly encouraged to apply.

The Public Health Institute is committed to a policy that provides equal employment opportunities to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, color, sex, religion, national origin, ancestry, age, marital status, pregnancy, medical condition including genetic characteristics, physical or mental disability, veteran status, gender identification and expression, sexual orientation, and to make all employment decisions so as to further this principle of equal employment opportunity. To this end, the PHI will not discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment because of race, color, sex, religion, national origin, ancestry, age, marital status, pregnancy, medical condition including genetic characteristics, physical or mental disability, veteran status, gender identification and expression, sexual orientation, and will take affirmative action to ensure that applicants are offered employment and employees are treated during employment without regard to these characteristics.

To apply for any position, you must create an account on the Public Health Institute’s job application site. After creating your account, you may search the open positions and apply for the specific position that interests you. Please note, mailed and emailed applications will not be accepted.

We’re so pleased the Public Health Institute is an organization you would like to work with. Do you have questions about this opportunity? If so, email our recruitment team at

Find out more about the benefits of working at PHI.


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