Laura Saponara has 20 years experience leading strategic communications for advocacy organizations that advance social justice and public health. Laura began working with the Public Health Institute in 2015, on a pilot project to help local health departments combine data and storytelling, supported by the California Health Care Foundation. Prior, she worked with the National Public Relations and Communications team at Kaiser Permanente. Laura is also former Communications Director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California, where she oversaw a team of strategists who use storytelling and media of all kinds to stand up for fundamental rights and end abuses of power. She remains intensely interested in the way public health and civil rights overlap in the need to reduce incarceration and treat addiction. Laura got her start with i.e. communications in 1998, working with clients that included Planned Parenthood and The California Wellness Foundation.
Laura holds a master’s degree in Mass Communication from the University of Texas, Austin, where she wrote about the belief systems at work among religious conservative activists. Laura has taught media studies at UC Davis, serves as an advisor and evangelist to The Op-Ed Project, and continues to hone her sub-specialty in reaching Spanish speaking audiences in California through earned media, paid advertising and social media campaigns.