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Danielle Mackey
Senior Vice President, Director Consumer Marketing Practice
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Associations’ Role in Awareness and Education

The emergence of H1N1 influenza is impacting our lives in many ways – from dictating priority purchases, to altering travel plans, shifting after-school activities and even creating a family preparedness plan. As we go through our day, we’re constantly keeping one eye on the TV or computer screen to learn what our next steps should be.

When seeking dedicated, credible sources of information, America’s associations offer very specialized expertise – for their members, national, state and city officials and the public at large. As the nation weaves its way through the flu outbreak and others to come, the association community can provide the perspective of virtually every industry sector – from healthcare to education, from law enforcement to travel and retail – the amount of helpful information they provide is virtually endless.

A few brief examples include the fact that The Infectious Disease Society of America is supporting federal authorities in communicating what every American can do to stay healthy, as well as giving doctors recommendations on antiviral use and lab protocols. The Soap and Detergent Association has released tips on keeping kids clean at school, and the dental industry has a web site so to educate its members on how Swine flu is spread and prevention techniques. The American Psychological Association has put out information about managing anxiety related to Swine flu. And, the American Nurses Association has a resource for its members who are caring for patients with the flu.

Last, but not least, the Association of Healthcare Journalists has developed online resources for its members to guide them in covering this story and other pandemics to come. Some of their shared information includes best practices for covering disasters, alerts regarding Q&A sessions with experts and tips for preparing the community for pandemics.

We truly are all in this together.