The Challenge

The Washtenaw Health Initiative brings together health-related organizations in Washtenaw County, Michigan, with the aim of improving care for low-income, uninsured, under-insured, and underrepresented people. The communications committee decided to experiment with a themed newsletter, and chose to focus on substance use disorder (SUD).

The Process

I led the team in creating a newsletter focused on SUD in Washtenaw County. I gathered and organized news articles, edited and included two articles from the WHI website (the “It Is Possible” campaign and the fatality review team stories), and then I wrote the keystone story, “Loving through addiction: How family and friends can reduce harm.” This was a particularly challenging subject. I interviewed 3 experts in the community, and combined several different viewpoints into a story covering the divisive subject of harm reduction.

The Result

Sent to almost a thousand people, the newsletter got a 47% open rate and a 9% click through rate, well above industry average. The communications committee and other stakeholders were happy with the way the first themed newsletter came together.