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Q&A: Kristin Carroll, CEO of Rescue: The Behavior Change Agency

Aug 27, 2018

Kristin Carroll is the CEO of Rescue: The Behavior Change Agency in San Diego, California. Carroll spoke with Interact about the organization's tobacco prevention efforts.

Interact for Health: Could you explain more about the Rescue: The Behavior Change Agency and its goals?

Kristin Carroll: Rescue is a behavior change marketing agency that works with public health departments, nonprofits, and organizations to create campaigns to make healthy behaviors easier and more appealing. We do this by essentially combining the services offered by traditional advertising agencies with the evidence-based and collaborative approaches of community-based organizations to produce creative one-of-a-kind public health interventions.

Interact for Health: What lessons have you learned as CEO of Rescue?

Carroll: What I think is most important is balancing the needs of our clients with the skills of our team to make sure we can create the most effective program possible. When we put together a public health program or intervention or campaign, we are focused on a very specific target audience. We are about understanding who the highest risk audiences are and making sure there is a targeted campaign to reach the people who need it the most.

Interact for Health: Could you tell me a brief story that illustrates the effect of your organization's work in the community?

Carroll: What I would point to is our work with FDA's Center for Tobacco Products and our "Fresh Empire" campaign. The goal of that campaign was to reach multicultural youth and prevent further tobacco initiation among that population. Through our research, we discovered that youth who did have a higher propensity toward tobacco, oftentimes affiliated themselves with the hip hop community, and no one could name any individual in the hip hop community who did not smoke. The result was this preconceived notion that everyone in their community smoked and that that was the norm. But what we were able to do overtime was create a campaign that came from the community and youth themselves, as opposed to your standard targeted public health campaign. And we are beginning to see youth engage in their hip-hop community in a tobacco-free way.

Interact for Health: What accomplishments at Rescue are you most proud of?

Carroll: There are probably three things that I would note we are most proud of: The first, is our ability to launch the first-of-its-kind tobacco prevention effort for FDA to target at-risk populations. The second is our commitment to share our learning more broadly across the public health and social marketing and behavior change community. And the third, would be our incredible team here at Rescue.

Interact for Health: What about your work excites you or is most fulfilling?

Carroll: What I find the most fulfilling is that with each of the clients that we work with -- whether it is a local school district, a state, or a federal agency -- we are really able to help them understand how to bring contemporary and progressive marketing strategies to solve really big problems. It is often an educational experience both for Rescue as well as our clients.

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