Young children have one of the highest rates of traumatic brain injury (TBI) related emergency department visits compared to all age groups, which represents a large public health burden for the U.S. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) was directed by the Traumatic Brain Injury Reauthorization Act of 2014 to compile a Report to Congress on the Management of TBI in Children in conjunction with the National Institutes of Health. In 2016, the CDC National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (NCIPC) partnered with Brunet-García to assist with the Report design, collateral, and dissemination plan.
The information provided in this Report represents several calls-to-action to improve the care children receive after a TBI, and ultimately maximize their potential for recovery. I sat down with Account Executive Francie Lefkowitz, Senior Account Manager Anna Jaffee, and Art Director Bianca Borghi to discuss how Brunet-García brought the Report from initial copy to a fully-fledged, final document.
What is the purpose of this Report?
Jaffee: The Report to Congress provides valuable information to multiple audiences, whether that's families, schools, providers, or partner organizations on coordination and care related to brain injuries in children. Although science-based and research heavy, the findings are meant to inform and educate the public, in addition to healthcare providers. Ultimately, the goal is to show that there is a need for more research in this field and make a positive impact on best practices.
In addition to the layout and design of the Report, what are some of the other materials Brunet-García created for this project?
Lefkowitz: We were contracted to develop accompanying materials to share key findings of the Report, including collateral like fact sheets and infographics. We also prepared digital assets, like social media graphics and ads to help with CDC’s promotion efforts. The fact sheets are great because they pull the key pieces of information from the Report and explain them in ways that are more meaningful to each audience (families, providers, schools, and partners) we are trying to reach.
Jaffee: The postcard we also created is a unique tool for NCIPC to use at events and conferences where a concise, catchy handout is needed. It has a different feel from the standard flyer or brochure and uses the appealing photography found in the Report. All materials can all be accessed digitally and easily shared online, which make them a great tool for spreading the word. Additionally, we developed a full dissemination plan and presentation for NCIPC to share the news and make a significant impact.
From a design perspective, what were some of the challenges we came across and how did you work to overcome them?
Borghi: There is a very methodical approach to designing large documents like this. Call outs and photos are placed strategically, styles are set for consistency, and page breaks happen at very specific points in a body of text. When client edits start coming in, often full paragraphs may change, which shifts the flow of the entire document. Sometimes adding an extra paragraph will add hours of work to reshuffle pages. It’s important to anticipate these text changes and account for it in the beginning. Extra space and large margins are our friend.
What do you hope the audience will do with this information?
Lefkowitz: The goal is dependent upon the audience as there are many stakeholders involved in making changes to the way we currently handle brain injury and recovery in children. One large overarching goal is that the many hands involved will coordinate their efforts more closely to make a more effective system of care. Without each of the stakeholders doing their part, like parents at home caring for children, or school administrators ensuring a student’s workload is modified, a child’s outcome won’t improve.
Jaffee: It’s also about ensuring there is more research ignited by this Report to help continue to identify gaps in care. From there, stakeholders converge to reduce those gaps and make policies to strengthen practices that are most effective in helping kids.
What is one key fact that resonated with you after working on this Report?
Lefkowitz: I think that we all found this statistic, “14% of children who experienced an mTBI needed educational support services at school twelve months later,” to be startling. TBIs can affect more than the brain itself. For instance, children can face academic challenges and have difficulty finding a job later in life. I hope that coordination will continue to grow between providers, schools, and families to benefit children as early as possible.
What lessons will you take from your experience in managing this project?
Jaffee: We run our business on effectively managing our time and meeting deadlines, which means we get the ball rolling on tasks right after a contract kickoff. As we have been completing more and more of these large federal reports and plans, we’re learning that information often changes from inception to release. Changes to information affect every material we are developing, and sometimes it’s best to hold off on full layout of accompanying materials until we’re sure copy is in its final state. We’ve learned time and again to be flexible.
Lefkowitz: While we sometimes say, ‘less is more,’ I feel this project really exemplified why separate materials should be developed based on audience. The Report has very distinct asks of each group, and we wouldn’t want them to overlook the findings because they mistakenly felt information didn’t apply to them. There are many times when the same key messages can apply to multiple groups, but this is a perfect example of why differentiation is important in health communication.