SESSION 1:  DIGITAL COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT TOOLKIT TRAINING

This session is designed to familiarize participants with the United Against COVID Digital Community Engagement Toolkit. Participants will review the campaign materials and learn how they can be customized for their community.

During the session, participants will:

  • Learn the most effective way to make skeptical residents who have low levels of trust in “the system” aware of local COVID-19 resources.
  • Gain an understanding of how on-the-ground outreach and an online presence work together to garner community buy-in, establish trusting relationships, build credibility and truly move the numbers.
  • Increase their organizations’ ability to provide trusted COVID-19 information to residents in their community.
  • Leverage their new communications expertise to serve as a “go-to person” for other leaders in their community.
  • Be able to customize this countywide COVID-19 Awareness Campaign (using toolkits, outreach tools and templates) to meet the specific needs and interests of their community.



Pamela Weddington

As Vice President of Communications, Pamela Weddington is MEE’s primary writer and creative coordinator. She oversees the development and production of all print, graphics, audiovisual, digital and other communication materials. Her strengths also include the ability to analyze qualitative research data and use sound communications practices to “translate” it into message framing, branding and designs that resonate with the target audience(s).

Pamela earned a BS in Public Communications/Marketing from Boston University. Prior to joining MEE, she was an Information Officer for the School District of Philadelphia, where she was responsible for managing public relations, developing crisis management strategies, writing speeches for top and middle management, and planning and coordinating special events and programs.



Wendy Verna

Wendy Verna, the Founder (1991) and President of Octo Design Group, has spent her career developing expertise in social media design and management, strategic advertising campaigns, digital promotion and execution, and presentations and video.

A next-level approach to customer service and a commitment to maintaining an inclusive environment makes her especially equipped to train participants about tailoring COVID-19 messages using social media to meet their community’s specific interests and needs. Wendy is a graduate of Moore College of Art and Design and serves on a variety of Philadelphia-area nonprofit boards that help independent companies grow.

Register for the September 28, 2021 Training at 2:00pm

SESSION 2: TRAUMA-INFORMED HEALTH COMMUNICATIONS 101: TARGETING LOW-INCOME ETHNIC AND MINORITY COMMUNITIES OF COLOR

This session is designed to improve participants’ cultural competency and ability to communicate with low-income communities that are often overlooked, underserved and marginalized, to provide them with life-saving health information in a way that is effective and culturally-relevant. It addresses why traditional forms of health communications may not be cost-effective or culturally-sensitive, and also how they may be insulting to low-income audiences and counter-productive to a program’s goals.

During the session, participants will:

  • Increase their awareness and understanding of the worldview and specific cultural and communication dynamics of African-American and other ethnic communities.
  • Identify key differences between oral-based and literate-based cultures.
  • Gain information and context that enhances empathy for clients who reflect different backgrounds, experiences and worldviews from outreach and other staff at the agencies and programs designed to serve them.
  • Enhance their communication and outreach skills with vulnerable populations, including LGBTQ+, through practical, community-tested strategies that not only focus on “what to say,” but also “how to say it.”
  • Participate in hands-on, interactive argument/counter-argument exercises to prepare them for an authentic, and ultimately, effective public health dialogue with low-income African-American and other ethnic communities.
  • Learn the steps required to develop trauma-informed, culturally relevant messaging and materials, including how to develop messages that include references to stress & trauma, resilience and healing/recovery, so that they resonate with audiences who live in at-risk environments.
  • Learn the protective factors that facilitate thriving coping behaviors.
  • Engage in discussions and activities to contextualize the experiences and worldviews of vulnerable populations and how they are negatively impacted by stereotypes and misperceptions.



Ivan J. Juzang

Ivan J. Juzang, the Founder and President of MEE (Motivational Educational Entertainment) Productions Inc., has more than three decades of practical, first-hand experience running a behavioral health communications business he founded during his final year at The Wharton Graduate School of Business. Over the past 30-plus years, Ivan has become a leading expert in the field of social marketing and behavior-change communications, producing and implementing results-oriented intervention campaigns that address health, educational and social disparities that impact low-income, underserved communities. He conducts qualitative audience research that provides an “insider’s view” of the challenging daily realities of urban living, and combines it with creative, “outside the box” media production and grassroots community mobilization strategies.

Ivan has worked on health disparities and public health issues affecting low-income, underserved and devalued communities. MEE’s target audiences include Black and Latino teens, young adults, parents, the LGBTQ community and boys & men of color. He has focused on identifying the barriers, arguments and counter-arguments related to helping communities of color improve their health and social outcomes. He expertly engages low-income urban audiences in healthier behaviors, by helping them make informed choices.
Ivan has been the primary researcher on MEE’s national research projects, including its first national report, The MEE Report: Reaching the Hip-Hop Generation (published in 1992). He has also been the lead researcher for This Is My Reality-The Price of Sex: An Inside Look at Black Urban Youth Sexuality and the Role of the Media (2004), Moving Beyond Survival Mode: Promoting Mental Wellness and Resiliency as a Way to Cope with Urban Trauma (2009), the Inner City Truth 3 Survey (2013) and Heard, Not Judged: Insights Into the Talents and Realities and Needs of Young Men of Color (2016). Ivan’s expertise as a media producer is exemplified in MEE’s award-winning media productions, including “Check Yourself” HIV prevention PSA’s, and “In Search of Love: Dating Violence Among Urban Youth.”

He is a board member of The Power to Decide (formerly the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy). Ivan has also served on the boards of the Nurse Family Partnership and The Alan Guttmacher Institute. Ivan was also an instructor at Temple University’s School of Communications, Department of Broadcasting Telecommunications and Mass Media. He received his BS degree in Mechanical Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University, and his MBA from The Wharton School of Business of the University of Pennsylvania.

Register for session 2

SESSION 3: COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT CONCEPTS THAT COUNTER TRAUMA, DISPARITIES AND LACK OF TRUST

Community engagement is a core element of MEE’s approach to behavior change. We value it. We prioritize it. People ask us all the time, “How are your community engagement tactics different from others in public health?” Of course, “how” is an important piece of the puzzle. But it’s more important to understand the “why” before the “how.”

MEE’s Community Engagement Training will provide a deeper understanding of the importance of community mobilization and how community engagement strategies create wins for both the community and your organization. That “win-win” is what leads to stronger, more vibrant and resilient communities.

Many agencies and organizations are struggling to engage members of affected communities. Participants in MEE’s Community Engagement Training will:

  • Understand how MEE adapts the Strategic Prevention Framework to engage communities (particularly with oral-based cultures) who have been mistreated by the systems and institutions that are supposed to serve and assist them.
  • Learn why having authentic, on-the-ground community engagement in a public health or mental health professional’s “toolbox” counters a lack of trust in mainstream institutions, even though this approach is often ignored because it is perceived as “too hard” to pull off.
  • Learn why using a network of community partners as a message-delivery channel can be both more culturally-relevant and cost-effective than mainstream, traditional media.
  • Learn how to effectively engage and mobilize members of the community for community-wide dialogue by involving numerous access touchpoints.
  • Understand why a combination of digital outreach (high-tech) and on-the-ground, community-based encounters (high-touch) community-based strategies increases both impact and effectiveness of community-engagement efforts for hard-to-reach audiences.
  • Receive an overview of the “how” – MEE’s culturally-relevant community outreach and mobilization strategies and tactics.

MEE will highlight the three (3) community-activation models that it has developed, tested and proven over more than three decades of experience in urban and underserved communities. What all three organically developed, evidence-based models have in common is that they are “bottom-up” rather than “top-down” approaches to engage communities. They are also trauma-informed, reflecting the often-harsh economic and social realities of underserved populations. Finally, the models extensively involve the target audience in their development and implementation.

Leveraging community relationships takes time and effort, and a willingness to be challenged about one’s intent. This session provides a blueprint for building lasting connections that restore and build trust with the individuals being served. This ultimately results in healthier community norms and improved health and social outcomes.



Ivan J. Juzang

Ivan J. Juzang, the Founder and President of MEE (Motivational Educational Entertainment) Productions Inc., has more than three decades of practical, first-hand experience running a behavioral health communications business he founded during his final year at The Wharton Graduate School of Business. Over the past 30-plus years, Ivan has become a leading expert in the field of social marketing and behavior-change communications, producing and implementing results-oriented intervention campaigns that address health, educational and social disparities that impact low-income, underserved communities. He conducts qualitative audience research that provides an “insider’s view” of the challenging daily realities of urban living, and combines it with creative, “outside the box” media production and grassroots community mobilization strategies.

Ivan has worked on health disparities and public health issues affecting low-income, underserved and devalued communities. MEE’s target audiences include Black and Latino teens, young adults, parents, the LGBTQ community and boys & men of color. He has focused on identifying the barriers, arguments and counter-arguments related to helping communities of color improve their health and social outcomes. He expertly engages low-income urban audiences in healthier behaviors, by helping them make informed choices.
Ivan has been the primary researcher on MEE’s national research projects, including its first national report, The MEE Report: Reaching the Hip-Hop Generation (published in 1992). He has also been the lead researcher for This Is My Reality-The Price of Sex: An Inside Look at Black Urban Youth Sexuality and the Role of the Media (2004), Moving Beyond Survival Mode: Promoting Mental Wellness and Resiliency as a Way to Cope with Urban Trauma (2009), the Inner City Truth 3 Survey (2013) and Heard, Not Judged: Insights Into the Talents and Realities and Needs of Young Men of Color (2016). Ivan’s expertise as a media producer is exemplified in MEE’s award-winning media productions, including “Check Yourself” HIV prevention PSA’s, and “In Search of Love: Dating Violence Among Urban Youth.”

He is a board member of The Power to Decide (formerly the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy). Ivan has also served on the boards of the Nurse Family Partnership and The Alan Guttmacher Institute. Ivan was also an instructor at Temple University’s School of Communications, Department of Broadcasting Telecommunications and Mass Media. He received his BS degree in Mechanical Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University, and his MBA from The Wharton School of Business of the University of Pennsylvania.



William J. Juzang II

As a Vice President, William Juzang has managed a number of MEE’s social marketing and community mobilization projects, using his experience to produce and implement results-oriented initiatives that address issues that impact underserved populations in both urban and rural settings.

William has been the lead project manager and focus group moderator on a number of MEE’s qualitative audience research projects. In addition to his work as a project manager and focus group moderator, he is a principal researcher for MEE’s recurring national quantitative youth study, Inner City Truth.

William also manages MEE’s social media platforms (Facebook, YouTube and Twitter) and MEE’s national network of community-based organizations, The MEE Community Network. Using a combination of database management, e-mail technology and social media, he coordinates all technical aspects of communications “to the network,” to support information dissemination efforts and/or garner their support on MEE projects. William received his MBA from the School of Business and Industry at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University and a B.A. in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania.