The blog of Burness Communications

Simple Approaches to Reduce Children's Pain

For parents, the experience of taking their child to the pediatrician or hospital for necessary vaccinations or tests involving a series of shots is a time of anxiety and stress. In fact, ten percent of both children and adults have a significant needle phobia. Often, this is because the pain with getting shots with needles is managed poorly, if it is even managed at all.

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New Report: Doctors’ Participation in Interrogation and Torture in U.S. Detention Centers

Doctors and other health care providers are expected to adhere to certain professional ethical standards, to “do no harm” and “put patient interests first.” But a new report from the Institute on Medicine as a Profession (IMAP) says that military doctors and psychologists have let national security interests trump ethical standards, leading them to design, enable and engage in torture of detainees in U.S. military detention centers.

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Conversations in Development: The Critical Role of Women in Agriculture

The majority of those who produce, process, and market Africa’s food are women, but only one in four agricultural researchers and one in seven agricultural policymakers is female.

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Looking in Switzerland for the answers to financial risk in economic development

When you look at mining, logging, and large-scale agriculture in the developing world, an unfortunate set of numbers leap out.  Because these industries need land that is mostly inhabited, contested ownership of rural, forest, and dryland areas directly affects the livelihoods of more than two billion people.

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Conversations in Development: On the front lines in the fight against tuberculosis

Tuberculosis (TB), an infectious disease that kills 1.4 million people per year, has existed since the time of the pharaohs. Organizations like the TB Alliance and Aeras are working on new technologies to fight the scourge of this ancient and deadly foe.

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The “New Normal” for Reaching Your Audience

Getting a story in the highly influential New York Times has always been viewed as the Holy Grail of communications.  But as NPR’s Ari Shapiro reported recently on Morning Edition, the quickly shifting media environment and the ever-multiplying channels of communications have forced communicators to be much more strategic and thoughtful about how to engage the right audiences.  What that means for  public relations professionals is that legacy media like the Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal and others – while still critically important – are not the only game in town, and in fact, may not always be the first outlets you target to communicate your message.  

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Conversations in Development: A young Zambian woman on the value of education

In Zambia, a country where only 21 percent of girls and 27 percent of boys attend high school, student Patricia Nanyangwe discusses her family, her aspirations and the critical role of education in her community. With the help of the African Education Program, a nonprofit founded by Burnesser Julie-Anne Savarit-Cosenza, Patricia and hundreds of other Zambian students are getting the support they need to excel in high school and beyond.

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"Going for it": An update on Burness' Nairobi Office

In a few weeks, I’ll be flying to Nairobi to officially begin my position as the new Director of BurnessGlobal’s Nairobi Office.

I’m thrilled that Burness is returning to Nairobi—where we’ll continue the work we’ve been doing with groups based in and doing work across Africa. Only now, we’ll be closer to the organizations we’re working with and the people we’re ultimately working for—from smallholder farmers struggling to feed their families in the face of a changing climate to the young girls in Nairobi’s Kibera slum seeking a good education so they can climb out of poverty.

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Suburban poverty: A phenomenon that’s more common than you might think

My wife and I recently moved to one of the country’s wealthiest suburban areas – Montgomery County.  For us, along with many Americans, a move to the suburbs symbolized the promise of better schools and safer neighborhoods.  But the offer of “a better life in the suburbs” is quickly evaporating for many people who now live here.  Despite its reputation, a growing number of people who reside in this wealthy county just 20 miles outside the nation’s capital are poor and struggling.  In fact, no other county in the Washington D.C. region, including the District of Columbia, has experienced increases in poverty of the same magnitude as Montgomery County.    

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Signs of Progress Toward Reversing the Childhood Obesity Epidemic

Last December, we noted that some cities and states have begun to measure declines in their childhood obesity rates. As The New York Times put it then, these declines “offer the first indication that the obesity epidemic, one of the nation’s most intractable health problems, may actually be reversing course.”

On July 9, more than 250 people gathered in the gym of the National Capital Y in Washington, D.C., to hear from leaders representing four states and five cities or counties recording declines in their childhood obesity rates.

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