MEE-Led Workshops

Trauma-Informed Health Communications 101: Targeting Low-Income Communities of Color

This session is designed to improve participants’ cultural competency and ability to communicate with low-income communities of color (particularly urban, African-American communities), 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 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 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.

Community Engagement Concepts That Counter Trauma, Disparities and Lack of Trust

This session provides an overview of MEE’s culturally-relevant community outreach and mobilization strategies. We will provide a deeper understanding of the importance of community mobilization and highlight how community-based organizations, non-profits and community opinion leaders can be an effective public health communications channel that competes with traditional media.

MEE has developed three (3) community-activation models that have been tested and proven over more than two 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 engaging communities. They are also trauma-informed, reflecting the often-harsh economic and social realities of underserved populations. Finally, the models are not adopted from mainstream interventions and they extensively involve the target audience in their development and implementation.

During the session, participants will:

  • Learn why using a network of community partners as a non-traditional message-delivery channel can be more culturally-relevant and cost-effective than mainstream media.
  • Learn how to effectively engage and mobilize members of the community for community-wide dialogue by involving numerous access touchpoints.
  • Discuss the negative experiences vulnerable populations have encountered with public health institutions, including medical institutions/universities and schools of public health.
  • Understand the importance of community input and participation in heath-promotions activities.

Ethical and Responsible Research, Clinical Trials and Other Data Collection Methods with Skeptical and Suspicious Audiences

This session explores the first phase of MEE’s “by-and-for” philosophy for developing public health communications—formative audience research. It provides an overview of MEE’s audience research approach, which incorporates data-gathering and communications research as the foundation for every major behavioral health intervention. The session will illuminate how to properly and respectfully execute audience research, in a way that can help internal/external creative teams determine the motivation and persuasion techniques that best reach and influence any target population. The session will cover a multi-layered research approach that includes quantitative data collection, literature reviews and expert interviews, resulting in highly accurate research findings and reports. It will also address how video summaries that use firsthand accounts and stories from the target audience can graphically illustrate the research findings and allow clients to see and hear what the target audience is thinking.

During the session, participants will:

  • Learn how conducting audience research is integral to affecting behavioral changes and can inform a public health communications campaign.
  • Learn MEE’s proven approach to executing effective audience research the different types of audience research, and what makes MEE’s process unique.
  • Discuss and assess how audience research can inform message and materials development.

Moving Young Black Men Beyond Survival Mode: Protective Factors for Their Mental Health

Promoting protective factors to cope with stress and trauma is not a new recommendation. The axiom, “risk factors are not predictive factors due to protective factors,” is derived from Youth Violence: A Report of the Surgeon General (United States, Public Health Service. Office of the Surgeon General, 2001), and is often referenced by experts in mental health. Clearly, a protective factors framework is not a novel idea, yet it has not been implemented in scale and evaluated.

This workshop will focus on preventing or reducing mental health issues among young Black men in the first place but promoting protective factors in low-income, urban communities as a way to counter the risk factors (social determinants) that keep young Black men in survival mode. A “protective factors framework” with Black males will arm them with the skills needed: (1) to thrive even in the face of repeated exposure to extreme poverty and adverse childhood experiences; and (2) as an inoculation against the stressors they will face early on in life. This presentation is based on MEE’s 2010 release of Moving Beyond Survival Mode: Promoting Wellness and Resiliency As a Way to Cope with Urban Trauma which focused on understanding stress, trauma, and the perceptions of mental health in poor, inner-city Black communities.

During the session, participants will:

  •  Identify differences in mental health outcomes between young African American men living in the same neighborhoods and exposed to the same social determinants as their peers, but are making different choices, resulting in much healthier  mental health outcomes.
  •  Learn the protective factors that facilitate thriving coping behaviors.
  •  Enhance their protective factor promotional communications 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.”
  •  Use Campaign Customize Toolkit to develop and promote trauma-informed, culturally relevant messaging and materials, including messages that resonate with audiences who live in at-risk environments.
  •  Increase their awareness and understanding MEE’s recently state-wide tested social marketing campaign promoting positive and thriving coping strategies for the state of Ohio. This protective factors population health intervention will be evaluated by the University of Colorado at Denver’s School of Public Health in 2019

Learning Objective #1: To provide participants with knowledge about the unique social determinants that low-income, urban and under-resourced residents face. Health disparities these communities face are characterized by a number of risk factors like high levels of sustained poverty, institutional racism, regular traumatic episodes like violence in their home and community that leads to criminalization (including police harassment and incarceration), poor public education and even worse housing conditions created urban America’s unique brand of trauma.

Learning Objective #2: To provide participants with an understanding of why protective factor interventions should be implemented as “population health” interventions and how taking a trauma-informed approach using community engagement tactics provides better outcomes (cost effective, culturally-relevant channels) in low-income urban communities.

Learning Objective #3: To engage participants in a discussion on “why and how some young African American men are not only surviving but are thriving.” They are living in the same neighborhoods and exposed to the same social determinants as their peers, but are making different choices, resulting in much healthier mental health outcomes.

Javier-Led Workshops


From This Moment On

As human beings one of the greatest powers we possess is the power to choose. This program reminds audiences that their personal power to change their lives and change the world around them starts with the choices they make from this moment on. Your past does not have to disqualify you from your future and amazing things can start to happen in your life the moment you realize this and recognize how valuable and necessary each of us truly are. This life-building message delivered through comedy, poetry, and powerful storytelling is guaranteed to move your audience from inspiration to action!

From This Moment On…Thrive

Our culture encourages us to strive for success at any and all costs. More and more research is showing how detrimental constant comparison to others and pressure to always be perfect can be to your physical, mental, and emotional health. Just because you are successful on paper does not guarantee you are thriving. However, individuals who are thriving often experience measurable successes along the way. This presentation reminds participants that it’s okay to not be okay all the time and that we can choose to positively cope and thrive even in the midst of life’s most challenging circumstances.

From This Moment On…Say it Loud, Live it Louder

Young people have been told too often and for too long that they are the “future” or they are “tomorrow’s leaders”. The message this sometimes sends is that they cannot impact their homes, schools, and communities in a positive way right now. This highly engaging and interactive workshop trains young people and their adult allies to identify opportunities to impact schools, communities, and individual lives for the better right now and to get involved in solution-based action planning. If change for the better is going to happen, it can’t just happen to young people, it must happen through them.

Who C.A.R.E.S.? – Keys to Moving 21st Century Students from Inspiration to Action

Young people gravitate toward, respond to, and are willing to learn from adults they believe truly C.A.R.E. about them. Before the learning and development process can begin it is vital that we establish a culture of C.A.R.E. within our homes, schools, programs, and communities. As adults, we have a responsibility to awaken this generation to the chances they have to experience life to the fullest in healthy, positive, and productive ways. We are also called to be allies, using a trauma-informed approach to help them navigate the choices they’re making every day that matter most. Participants will walk away with a new or renewed passion for youth engagement as well as impact tools and resources that are immediately applicable, engaging, relevant, and fun. It’s time to listen, react, share, and do our part to demonstrate to our young people that we truly C.A.R.E.

© MEE Productions 2019