Michael Schommer 


Organization

Minnesota Department of Health


Current Position and how long

Communications Director since January 2013


Other experience: Professional, communications, education or anything else you'd like to share

  • M.A. in Strategic Communications, University of Minnesota
  • 2016/2020 President, National Public Health Information Coalition 
  • 2006-07 Emerging Leaders Institute 
  • I received the 2004 Honor Award for Outstanding Accomplishment in Communications from the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, and I have been an instructor in the Emerging Leaders Program since 2007. 
  • I helped state and local agencies respond to numerous public health and safety issues over the years, including the nation’s largest measles outbreak of 2017, Ebola preparedness efforts in 2014, and the ongoing investigation of lung injuries associated with vaping. 
  • Professional areas of interest include crisis and risk communication, media relations, social media, communications psychology and information processing.


Why do you want to be a Minnesota Association of Government Communicators board member?

MAGC is a wonderful resource for those of us communicating on behalf of government organizations. Given the pressures and time/resource limitations we all face, it is more important than ever that we find creative and effective ways to support each other and continue building our skills. I would love the opportunity to help MAGC with this important work.


What qualities and attributes will you bring to the organization?

My position and experience gives me valuable insights and perspective on the issues many of us face, and what we can collectively do to make things better for ourselves and our stakeholders. I believe I would bring a positive, partner-focused and level-headed approach to addressing the dramatic challenges we all face. 


What do you consider to be the major issues facing government communicators today?

The biggest issue is the declining trust in government and experts reported among many Americans, driven in part by hyper-polarization but also by a cultural shift away from valuing education and expertise. A close second is the public health/economic crisis of COVID-19, recognizing that even as vaccines become available the lingering effects of this jarring pandemic will be a challenge in multiple ways for all of us. 

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