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Health Mark Q. 2007;24(3-4):55-80. doi: 10.1080/07359680802119025.

Communicating with external publics: managing public opinion and behavior.

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  • 1Roger Williams University, Department of Communications, Bristol, RI 02809-2921, USA.


In health care organizational settings public relations plays an important role in managing relationships with a variety of external publics as well as with society in general. Managing these relationships involves both reactive and proactive communication activities. Reactively, public relations responds to public issues, crises and concerns, as well as inquiries from the media and other social institutions. Proactively, public relations engages in deliberately planned campaigns and programs to inform, influence or change behaviors of targeted publics for a wide range of strategic purposes. These purposes include managing the organization's image and identity; influencing public policies; supporting health promotion and education; promoting fund raising and volunteerism; and managing organizational change and crises.

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