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Spring 2023 | Advocates for Public Health

Course Background

“This DeCal was very informative and really introduced me to the beautiful intersection of public health and journalism.”

You have a voice. We want to hear it.

By taking our two-unit DeCal course, Advocates for Public Health, you can have a direct impact on communities around the world. The main goal for this course is to help you develop and apply effective communication skills towards a variety of public health topics. As you engage with material presented during class and listen to occasional guest lectures featuring individuals from a variety of different careers, we strive to provide you with deeper insight into ways you can effectively advocate and educate communities on pressing public health issues.

All of our DeCal students have the opportunity to publish their written works on our website — and even in our semesterly print issue. Ultimately, you can expect to utilize your written and spoken communication skills in your own articles as you learn the processes of researching, writing, and editing. By completing this course, you will:

  1. Develop further awareness, understanding, and passion for public health issues;
  2. Better engage with UC Berkeley’s research initiatives at various levels through researching, interviewing, and writing;
  3. Understand the basic style and structure of journalistic writing; and
  4. Learn and apply effective communication skills within the public health field.

Class Schedule

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102/05Introductions and PitchesCycle 1: Pitches
Due 02/12
"Reading Analytically," "How to Read a Scientific Article"
202/12Sentence OutlinesCycle 1: First Draft
Due 02/19
"Conversing with Sources: Writing the Researched Paper," "How to Write a Sentence Outline"
302/19Writing Basics and StorytellingCycle 1: First Draft Edits
Due 02/26
"Nine Basic Writing Errors and How to Fix Them"
402/26Conducting InterviewsCycle 1: Second Draft
Due 03/15
"The Impact of Media Bias: How Editorial Slant Affects Voters"
503/05Researching and Formatting ArticlesCycle 1: Second Draft Edits
Due 03/12
"From Media Hype to Twitter Storm"
603/12Guest SpeakerCycle 1: Final Drafts
Due 03/19
"Professors, We Need You!," "Academic Journalism"
703/19Presentations and Mid-Semester EvaluationsCycle 2: Pitches
Due 04/02
"Better Presentations"
804/02Article Analysis: Dos and Don'tsCycle 2: First Draft
Due 04/09
"The Future of Investigative Journalism"
904/09Guest SpeakerCycle 2: First Draft Edits
Due 04/16
"Studying the New on Public Health: How Content Analysis Supports Media Advocacy"
1004/16Guest SpeakerCycle 2: Second Drafts
Due 04/23
"Emphasizing 'Communication' in Health Communication"
1104/23Guest SpeakerCycle 2: Second Draft Edits
Due 04/30
"Public Speaking: Reducing Student Apprehension and Improving Oral Skills," "Better By the Dozen: 12 Quick Tips for Being a Smarter Reporter"
1204/30Celebration DinnerCycle 2: Final Drafts
Due 05/07

Course Workload

All enrolled students in our DeCal will be considered staff writers for The Public Health Advocate’s online platform. Through the semester, you will be guided through the process of writing and editing articles that effectively educate communities about public health issues. By the completion of this course, you will be able share your work published on our website at

Students’ grades for this class will be determined on a pass or no pass (P/NP) scale. To pass the course, students must earn a grade higher than 70%. Grades will be determined based on attendance, participation, and assignments turned in.

AssignmentsReading responses15%
First drafts10%
Second drafts10%
Final drafts20%