The advertising budget at the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) increased by over 500% from fiscal years 2018 to 2022.

According to Alabama Department of Finance (ADF) records, advertising spending spiked from approximately $2.3 million in fiscal year 2018 to $11.9 million in fiscal year 2022, which ended on September 30.

An ADPH spokesperson told 1819 News on Monday that "most of the funding used for advertising by the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) is federal funds provided to public health programs" and recommended filing an open records request with the department for "more detail concerning breakdown of funds."

"During the COVID-19 pandemic, significant federal funding has been provided for ongoing education," Arrol Sheehan, ADPH spokesperson, said.

According to the ADF, advertising spending at the ADPH over the last five full fiscal years was:

  • 2018: $2,300,013.70

  • 2019: $2,986,763.20

  • 2020: $5,439,441.50

  • 2021: $8,887,728.36

  • 2022: $11,865,089.83

ADPH announced a partnership with Bruno Event Team in September 2021 for its statewide "KICK COVID" campaign "to promote vaccinations and education regarding vaccine efficacy by leveraging the state's passion for college football."

The next largest expenditure in fiscal year 2022 was to Copperwing Design, a creative and marketing company based out of Montgomery, which received approximately $1.7 million.

Copperwing developed the "Alabama Unites Against COVID" multimedia campaign, according to its website.

Sheehan told 1819 News that "advertising is a way to reach large populations concerning measures to protect the health and well-being of their families, loved ones and themselves."

"The results of public health campaigns are sometimes measurable and sometimes not immediately apparent," Sheehan said. "However, over time, positive results of educational messaging can be seen. Historically, vaccine-preventable diseases have been reduced due to uptake of vaccine products. Other public health educational outreach campaigns have shown improvement in preventive health measures such as PAP smears and mammograms. Through advertising, persons become aware of the services and benefits of public health, including WIC, STD treatment, TB treatment, HIV treatment, and many other programs."

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