short lettercirculated internally among program staff W r i t i n g
WRITE A MEMO TO THE MATERNAL AND CHILD HEALTH STUDENT ASSOCATION AT USF (Short Memo Writing – 1-3 pages, single spaced, APA style)
Using the same topic that you used to develop the infographic, students are asked to now convince other peers that this is an important topic using a memo. A Memo is a short lettercirculated internally among program staff in an organization. It’s better suited for program administrators, program staff, program service providers. You will have to do many of those in your career (think of them as well-crafted emails).
There are two reasons for writing a memo: the first is to bring someone’s attention to a problem, and the second is to solve a problem. Memos are formal documents and need to be written in a professional manner. Writing a memo is different than the writing a term paper. Memos are read by busy individuals, and they do not want long background sections and flowery language. Memos are short and very specific. The purpose of a memo is to persuade an individual to do something. The person writing a memo has a number of responsibilities, as the recipient may act based upon the information provided. If a superiorofficer acts upon a memo that is based in error or does not consider the consequences of the action recommended, that person’s career may be at risk and harm may be done to his or her constituents. Thus, the writer needs to provide a short and clear analysis of the situation that is balanced and the writer need to consider the advantages and disadvantages of any recommended action before making recommendations.
Although memos are short, usually no more than 3-4 pages, they need to address the key issues, provide a framework for understanding these issues, and include a specific recommendation for taking action. The writer needs to consider the audience and not make recommendations beyond what that person can do. For example, it would be foolish to recommend that a teacher change the length of the school day when that decision is in the hands of the school board and furthermore needs to take into account state and federal regulations. A memo recommending that a large team of individuals be assigned to a specific task may be ineffective if the recipient does not have the resources to assign individuals. Thus, the memo writer needs to clearly consider the recipient of the memo, and the practicalities of any recommendations.
We want you to write a memo to your student leaders and/or MCH Faculty (e.g. Faculty from the Center of Excellence in Maternal and Child Health, or Faculty from MCH Concentration) at USF, to convince them of the importance of a problem in maternal and child health, for which the students can get involved in some form of action (participate or join local initiatives, advocacy, awareness campaign, improve curricula, conduct research in the area, or motivate action at the policy level)
There are distinct parts to a memo: a) heading, b) body of the memo, c) attachments.
A) Heading: The heading identifies who wrote the memo, who it was sent to, the date, and the subject.
TO: Recipient’s name and title FROM: Your name and title DATE: Current Date
SUBJECT: The purpose of the memo
B) Body of the Memo
This section provides a description of the purpose of the memo, and includes any important background information, as well as the specific recommended response. You should describe the background as succinctly as possible but provide sufficient detail. The challenge is to provide onlyas much information as is necessary but enough detail so the recipient can understand the problem. If relevant, you can indicate what you have done so far. You need to close the memo with a polite ending that clearly indicates what action you want the recipient to take.
C) File attachments: You can attach any documents needed to provide detailed information that the recipient may need (e.g. the infographic that you developed). Be sure to identify any attachments in your memo under the closing. It should be listed as follows, under the body of the memo.
Attached: List the name of the attachment
CONTENT REQUIREMENT FOR THE MEMO: The student must answer the following questions in his/her memo:
1. What is the problem? Define and explain its significance as a public health problem.
2. How big is the problem (e.g., magnitude, overall trends, statistics)?
3. Who does it affect the most, and why?
4. Why is this problem important to MCH?
5. What local change and/or action do you propose for your peers (or faculty) to do in order to address this problem, and why? (You can use some of the ideas of “the Advocacy Opinion Post” – a previous assignment)
6. What specifically do you want the person reading the memo to do? Why should this person/group care and why is this topic important to this individual or group of people? Make your objectives and intended outcomes clear.
The concise answers to these questions will help the student make a persuasive argument within the memo, to move his/her specified decision maker to action. This argument must be research-based; students should review the research literature (using at least 3 scholarly journal articles and his/her choice of other sources, such as the CDC website). The information learned from those research studies and publications should be used to inform and support the student’s argument and thoughts.