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Indian teens eating street food
Focus Areas

Communication Science and Behavior Change for Noncommunicable Diseases

Communicating effectively to improve NCD prevention, diagnosis, and treatment

Social and cultural norms—along with individual experiences, perceptions, and attitudes—play a significant role in the choices people make about diet, physical activity, tobacco use, and alcohol use, which comprise the four primary behavioral risk factors for noncommunicable diseases (NCDs). Communication interventions grounded in behavior change theories and tailored to a country’s sociocultural and policy context can substantially reduce these risk factors for NCDs and effectively improve the health of its population.

RTI’s Center for Global NCDs is composed of an interdisciplinary team of experts in health communication, health services research, health literacy, and cultural competency. Guided by best practices in communication research, our experts engage communities in assessing and addressing the risk factors influencing their health. RTI applies technological, policy, and communication tools to educate communities, policy makers, and key stakeholders; to activate interventions; and to evaluate the impact of such interventions.

New technologies, including mobile devices and digital health trackers, offer additional opportunities to collect NCD prevalence data, educate audiences about NCD symptoms, alter behaviors that increase risk of developing an NCD, and ways to actively engage in treatment and self-management practices. We also use these methods to encourage healthy behaviors and influence norms across diverse social strata. We work with governments, service providers, industry experts, educators, and communities to inform public perception of NCDs and improve health outcomes at the country level and globally.

Project Highlight

Digital Health Communication Toolkit

Digital media continue to grow and dominate the way we communicate across the world, including in the public health sector. To enable Indian public health organizations to take full advantage of digital communication tools, RTI developed a Digital Health Communication Toolkit. This toolkit incorporates best practices, case studies, and expert recommendations to help the Indian Cancer Society and other organizations across India to seize the tremendous potential of digital communication platforms to empower patients and providers with knowledge and resources.