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Our Communications team recognized for messages that help you protect your family’s health.

When you turn on your tap water and it’s safe to drink, you’re seeing public health at work. 
If you swim in a clean lake, enjoy a safe meal out, or get connected to parenting support—that’s public health, too. And that’s only the beginning.

We spend our days protecting the health of all people and places in Pierce County. And our Communications team tells you about important health news and helps you find services. 

As Deputy Director of the Health Department and director of our administrative services, Communications is one of my teams. I see first-hand how much they care when they work on creative communication strategies to help you find COVID-19 vaccine, alert you to beach closures, and encourage you to stop smoking. 

Organizations like the Public Relations Society of America’s (PRSA) Puget Sound chapter have noticed, too. PRSA is the leading organization for communication professionals in the U.S., and this chapter represents most of Western Washington. 

Earlier this month, I attended a PRSA ceremony where our Communications staff received two team awards: 

  • Summit Award for Community Relations Program: “Leveraging partnerships to build trust and vaccinate Pierce County”—We faced a daunting mission in 2021. We needed to vaccinate as many of our nearly 1 million residents as possible. Our work with community partners helped us reach a larger audience and get hundreds of thousands of people vaccinated. 
  • PRSA Certificate of Excellence: Digital Media—Digital and social media are important ways to deliver information in the 21st Century. Our Trusted Messenger program leveraged valued voices in the community and amplified their stories in videos, blogs and social media.  

We share these honors with community members and staff who participated in both campaigns. Thank you for your valued partnerships.

Our communications manager, Edie Jeffers, also received the chapter’s PR Professional of the Year Award. The award recognizes the area’s most outstanding communicator who helped establish a relationship between an organization and the public. 

  • PR Professional of the Year Award—In 10 years as Communications & Community Relations Manager at the Health Department, Edie has embraced her roles as communication expert and mentor. She’s grown a team of leaders and ensured a strong foundation in strategic communications planning, branding, and plain talk. Edie and her team have trained hundreds of staff members how to focus their writing to better connect with readers and listeners. Edie has partnered with people across the agency and Pierce County to create messaging strategies uniting people around common public health goals and shared understanding.

Many Seattle-based advertising and public relations firms also competed for awards. A PRSA chapter from out of state chose the winners. We’re honored they recognized the critical role of public health communications in protecting communities.

Our data shows our messages resonated with people even as some grew weary of the pandemic. Last year, people visited our COVID-19 vaccine webpage more than 1.9 million times and more than 780,000 people saw our Facebook messages at least once. And more than 120,000 of you have signed up to receive email messages from us.

It’s the second straight year PRSA honored our work. Last year, our team received a Summit Award for our social media, a Summit Award for our website and a Certificate of Excellence for Crisis Communications for our COVID-19 work.

These awards and the trust you’ve shown the Health Department are a credit to our entire staff. They’ve invested in the ideas that we should make every word count and show great customer service when they’re in the community working to protect your health.

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Members of Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department's Communications team hold up awards they were honored with earlier this month by Public Relations Society of America's Puget Sound chapter.
Members of Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department’s Communications team hold up awards they were honored with earlier this month by Public Relations Society of America’s Puget Sound chapter.