Framework for Using the Arts for Health Messaging

A toolkit by the University of Florida Centre for Arts in Medicine.


The UF Center for Arts in Medicine, in collaboration with the UF Interdisciplinary Ebola Response Team, is currently developing a Framework for Using the Arts for Health Messaging.  The evidence-based framework is a practical tool designed to guide public health professionals in using the arts for efficient and effective health messaging. The framework comprises a theoretical basis for using the arts for health messaging, systematic review findings and references, and tools for program planning, engaging artists, and undertaking and assessing arts-based messaging campaigns.

The framework is based on a set of key findings from studies undertaken by the Center for Arts in Medicine and focused on use of the arts in public health. The findings are derived from a systematic review of literature investigating use of the arts in public health in low-resource and low-literacy regions and studies undertaken, in partnership with Makerere University, in Uganda in 2014. These studies include in-depth interviews with public health leaders and artists working in public health. Our findings align with those of a major systematic review published recently by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which defines four key components of effective health messaging programs:

  1. tailoring the message
  2. targeting messages to audience segments
  3. using narratives
  4. framing messages

Key Concepts

The findings define six key concepts that can guide effective use of the arts for small and large scale health messaging, and are guiding the development of the Framework for Using the Arts for Health Messaging:

  1. Effective arts-based health messaging programs are multi-modal, highly structured and interdisciplinary.
  2. Effective arts-based health messaging programs are built on clear theoretical foundations.
  3. Various forms of drama, music, and the visual arts can be used to focus and clarify health messages.
  4. Through culturally and personally relevant narratives, the arts engage people emotionally and can facilitate behavior change.
  5. Use of the arts, including celebrity artists and mass media formats, can effectively reach target audiences in large numbers.
  6. Peer-to-peer social learning expands the reach of arts-based messaging and can spur even greater behaviour change than direct learning.


To read more about each of these concepts, please follow the link below.

External Link

Access the Toolkit

You can read the full toolkit on the Centre for Arts in Medicine website. Click the button to be redirected.


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