Society Webinars


Communicating on COVID-19 Vaccination – Past, Present, and Future

Sponsored and presented by:
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Watch the Recording

This free member webinar was held on Wednesday, September 1st, 2021. 

The push for COVID-19 vaccination in the US represents one of the largest and most consequential public health interventions in the nation’s history.  For the past eight months, a diverse array of health communicators have been leading comms and social marketing programs at the local, state, and national levels designed to increase COVID-19 vaccine uptake, with an aim of improving vaccine confidence among the ‘wait-and-see’ while mitigating the effects of disinformation being spread about the vaccines.

What have we learned?  What do we now need to prioritize?  How should we plan for new contingencies or challenges that the future may hold?  And how might all these learnings be applied to health comms initiatives outside the realm of COVID?  In this webinar, panelists from the Ad Council will share their insights and experiences addressing these questions, with an eye to providing pragmatic, real-world recommendations, and allowing substantial time for Q&A with attendees.

Panelists include Charysse Nunez, Insights Lead on the Ad Council’s vaccination education initiative; and Tony Foleno & Catherine Chao, SVP & VP for Strategy & Evaluation at the Ad Council.

Communicating About Disparities to Achieve Health Equity

Sponsored and presented by:

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This free member webinar was held on Wednesday, February 24, 2021.


Related Resources

The panelists discussed the following resources during the webinar.


Stock photos

COVID resources


About the Webinar 

Communicating about health can be a challenge, especially to those populations disproportionately impacted by disease. Access to care, social injustice, and health disparities further complicate how health communicators ensure that health messages are accurate, accessible, timely, and culturally sensitive.  

The Society is pleased to present this conversation about the critical role health communication plays in improving health outcomes and addressing health disparities. Panelists will explore practical approaches to developing and delivering health information that raises awareness, changes behavior, and helps achieve health equity. 

Panelists include 

  • Belinda Gaston, Principal Associate, Health Communications, Westat, and Founder, Comms Noire - Moderator
  • Kim Blessing, Vice President, Kauffman & Associates
  • LaTroya Hester, Director of Communications, Center for Black Health and Equity and Founder, Comms Noire
  • Leisha McKinley-Beach, National HIV Consultant
  • Alison Rodden, CEO, Hispanic Communications Network


Meet the Panelists 

Belinda GastonBelinda Gaston, Principal Associate, Westat, Moderator

Belinda is a strategic communications expert with nearly 20 years of experience leading public health programs. She works with federal agencies, state and local health departments, and nonprofits, providing expertise in strategic planning, partnerships, community engagement, and training and technical assistance. Belinda has a BA in English from Emory University and an MPH in Epidemiology from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.  


Kim BlessingKim Blessing, Vice President, Kauffman & Associates (KAI)

Kim is KAI’s vice president for communications and has more than 13 years of experience developing communication programs related to education, public health, safety, and support for vulnerable populations. Kim oversees a variety of federal and private outreach projects for KAI—an American Indian- and woman-owned firm dedicated to improving the lives of vulnerable populations—including one designed to increase participation by American Indians and Alaska Natives in Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services programs. She has master’s degree in rhetoric, composition, and technical communication from Eastern Washington University.




LaTroya HesterLaTroya Hester, Director of Communications, The Center for Black Health and Equity

LaTroya Hester is the director of communications at The Center for Black Health and Equity, a national nonprofit concerned with health equity and improving health outcomes for African Americans.  She currently manages events and communications for The Center for Black Health and Equity’s State of Black Health National Conference and No Menthol Sunday. As a passion project, she also runs MediaWoke, a media literacy program for the church. LaTroya received her ABJ and MA degrees from The University of Georgia.




Leisha McKinley-BeachLeisha McKinley-Beach, National HIV/AIDS Consultant

Leisha McKinley-Beach is founder and CEO of Cush Health Impact and and serves as a consultant on HIV and other health issues that affect Black communities, specifically Black women. Earlier in her career, Leisha was HIV Prevention Program Manager, Fulton County Department of Health and Wellness; Director of Technical Assistance and Stakeholder engagement, Black AIDS Institute; HIV Prevention Director, Georgia Department of Community Health; and Prevention Program Supervisor, Florida Department of Health. She has developed and launched an HIV testing initiative, oversaw development of Atlanta’s HIV prevention plan, and engaged faith-based communities in the HIV response. Leisha has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida and a master’s degree from the University of West Florida.





José López Zamorano José López Zamorano, Director of Public Affairs, Hispanic Communications Network (HCN)

Since 2009, José has served as one of HCN’s lead creative specialists. He develops original executions for radio, print, and digital platforms – as well as providing high profile TransCreations for HCN’s government and nonprofit client campaigns. His creative work spans from scripting radio PSAs for Health and Human Services’ Office of Women’s Health to TransCreating Spanish-language websites for the country’s most visible nonprofit brands, such as LIVESTRONG™. José has been involved in public issues for more than 25 years, and has led multimedia productions and multi-disciplinary / multi-platform news ventures. His experience includes the creation, development and placement of TV and radio programs catering to US Spanish-speakers and foreign audiences.