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New: Covid-19 Testing Communications and Community Engagement Toolkit

Brown University School of Public Health, Harvard Global Health Institute and The Rockefeller Foundation launch new resource for cities, states and community partners | Evidence-based, free Toolkit helps educate about the importance of Covid-19 testing and increase participation in asymptomatic testing  

Providence, Rhode Island | Thursday, November 19 – To combat the rapid increases in Covid-19 infections and bring the pandemic back under control, the nation needs to perform millions of tests every day this fall and winter. Thanks to the arrival of millions of rapid point-of-care tests and other increases in testing capacity, cities and states can finally act on this urgent need, expand the scope of who they are testing, and screen more broadly for the virus. 

For this approach to work, however, Americans need to know why, when and where they should get tested, and how they can readily participate in testing, even if they feel healthy. Public health departments and community organizations now have help in achieving this goal through the launch of the Covid-19 Testing Communications and Community Engagement Toolkit. The Toolkit is a free, public resource that equips anyone interested in communicating the importance of Covid-19 testing with tools and resources to run motivating, clear campaigns that educate Americans about the ins-and-outs of coronavirus testing.

“To date, communications approaches have focused largely on encouraging testing of people who feel sick. There is a significant gap in public understanding of how healthy people can spread the virus, and in which situations to seek a test,” says Dr. Ashish K. Jha, dean of the Brown University School of Public Health. “Testing delays and shortfalls also have created misconceptions about the availability of tests. And because of misinformation, there is a lack of public trust in testing as a crucial measure to suppress the virus and reduce death and suffering.” 

Produced jointly by the Brown School of Public Health and the Harvard Global Health Institute, with support from The Rockefeller Foundation, and developed with input from mayors and local leaders, the new Toolkit is a one-stop-shop, online resource, that offers guidance on campaigning best practices, easy-to-use practical tools, and a large library of ‘plug and play’ testing communication materials such as social media cards and posts, animations, newsletters, and handouts. Experts in public health, medicine, epidemiology and supply chain collaborated with artists and expert communicators to create materials that are both accurate and engaging. Key messages have been translated into 8 common languages spoken in the U.S.   

“The Toolkit helps people understand a key aspect of this pandemic: That you can pass along the virus without knowing you have it,” says Dr. Thomas Tsai, Assistant Professor of Surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and fellow at the Harvard Global Health Institute. “At least every second infection in this pandemic comes from someone who wasn’t sick when they infected others. So to stop this silent spread of the virus, we all need to know more about how testing works and when we should seek a test.” 

“This new resource takes the mystery out of Covid-19 testing and makes it a thing we all do at some point,” says Danielle Allen, director of Harvard’s Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics and an expert reviewer of the Toolkit. “The politicization of this pandemic has made it difficult to know where to find trustworthy information; with this tool, trusted community messengers can help vulnerable communities get the knowledge they need to protect themselves and their loved ones.”

“Testing is becoming increasingly available and we need people to understand that taking a test, even if they don’t have symptoms, protects themselves, their loved ones, and their neighbors,” says Eileen O’Connor, Senior Vice President of Communications, Policy, and Advocacy at The Rockefeller Foundation. “Most importantly, we can re-open our economy fully and safely if every person is routinely tested, isolates when positive, and wears a mask. This toolkit provides clear, consistent messages so that Americans understand the value of getting tested and other measures, even when they feel healthy.” 


Library of assets for dissemination:

  • One-click download of creative images, social media posts, handouts and other materials for campaigning
  • Free access to the design platform Canva to customize designs and add local testing information 
  • Handouts in 8 languages, which can be customized in Canva 

Evidence for knowledge:

  • Primer on asymptomatic spread and the role of screening testing in combating Covid-19
  • Key facts about Covid-19 tests: different types, how they work, and what to expect when getting tested
  • Who should get tested, when, and why
  • Best practices for creating meaningful messages about Covid-19 testing

Tutorials for skill building:

  • Step-by-step guide for running a social media campaign
  • Selecting and building a survey to better understand local attitudes towards testing
  • Tips & tricks for creating fresh and engaging social media content
  • Best practices for reaching vulnerable populations and diverse groups 
  • Choosing the social media platform that aligns with your campaigning goals 

We are committed to supporting cities, states and their partners in getting the most out of the Toolkit. To schedule a free, live demo of the Toolkit features for your organization, reach out to Kavya Nambiar at


About The Brown University School of Public Health

The Brown University School of Public Health is committed to tackling pressing health challenges of our time and improving population health by advancing science and training tomorrow’s leaders. Our nationally-renown research centers have expertise in key aspects of health and the ability to translate cutting-edge research into high-impact policies and care initiatives. The School’s student-centered academic training and culture of collaboration prepare future health leaders to respond to urgent health challenges. Public Health at Brown goes beyond preventing disease to reshaping health care and safeguarding vulnerable populations. For more information, follow us on Twitter @Brown_SPH 


About The Harvard Global Health Institute

The Harvard Global Health Institute is committed to surfacing and addressing some of the most vexing challenges in human health. We believe that the solutions to these problems will draw from within and beyond the medicine and public health spheres to encompass design, law, policy, business, and other fields. We harness the unique breadth of excellence within Harvard and are a dedicated partner to organizations, governments, scholars, and committed citizens around the globe. We convene diverse perspectives, identify gaps, initiate novel research, design new learning opportunities and advise policy makers to advance health equity for all. Join us as we push forward on a more innovative, evidence-based, collaborative vision for global health.


About The Rockefeller Foundation

The Rockefeller Foundation advances new frontiers of science, data, and innovation to solve global challenges related to health, food, power, and economic mobility. As a science-driven philanthropy focused on building collaborative relationships with partners and grantees, The Rockefeller Foundation seeks to inspire and foster large-scale human impact that promotes the well-being of humanity throughout the world by identifying and accelerating breakthrough solutions, ideas, and conversations. For more information, sign up for our newsletter at and follow us on Twitter: @RockefellerFdn


Kavya Nambiar 

Brown University School of Public Health 



Ryan Kim

Harvard Global Health Institute



Ashley Chang

The Rockefeller Foundation