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Principal Associate, Communication and Behavior Change

Shelly Spoeth brings more than 25 years of strategic communication and social marketing experience to tackling complex health and social issues.  She  worked for a decade with pharmaceutical and biotechnology clients while at public relations firms including Ketchum, FleishmanHillard and Cohn & Wolfe. She then worked as a consultant for government and nonprofit clients, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), on behavioral change challenges ranging from HIV/AIDS to COVID-19. Spoeth has implemented, evaluated, and managed dozens of projects that improved health outcomes. Her capabilities include formative research and digital outreach.

At Abt, Spoeth will use her behavior change experience and marketing and communication skills to serve as a strategic communication expert for projects with the CDC, Health Resources and Services Administration, and the Office of Infectious Disease and HIV/AIDS Policy. She will lead development of materials to communicate about COVID-19 and diabetes. Spoeth also will link audience data and research to behavioral outcomes around infectious diseases. And she will consult on the development of a long-term strategic plan for maternal and child health.   

Before coming to Abt, Spoeth led strategic marketing and communication planning at the American Cancer Society, helping ensure broad and effective communication of cancer-related recommendations. Before that, she served as a senior vice president at Porter Novelli, leading the Health & Social Impact practice and managing large CDC communications contracts around issues such as immunization. She helped increase maternal flu vaccination rates by five percent and won awards for digital marketing campaigns. She worked with communication firm Hager Sharp on formative research on HPV vaccine messaging. The multi-million dollar media campaign she led helped increase the adolescent HPV vaccination rate by three percent.


  • Strategic Planning
  • Behavior Change
  • Social Determinants of Health
  • Media Buying
  • Digital Marketing
  • Formative Research
  • Project Management
  • Materials Development
  • Audience Segmentation
  • Team Management
  • Government Contract Management

Key Projects:

  • Project Director, Support for the Health Communication Science Office of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Strategic Planner, Support for the Health Communication Science Office of the National Center for Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities (NCBDDD), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Project Lead, Mission Marketing and Communication, American Cancer Society
  • Project Manager/Paid Media Task Lead, HPV is Cancer Prevention, NCIRD, CDC


  • Lee N, Kotler P. (2019) Testing HPV-Related Messages with Pediatricians, Online Panel Survey. Social Marketing: Behavior Change for Social Good. Sage Publications. Sixth Edition. Contributor.
  • Fraze, JL, Uhrig JD, Davis KC, Taylor MK, Lee NR, Spoeth S. (2009) Applying Core Principles to the Design and Evaluation of the ‘Take Charge. Take The Test’ Campaign: What Worked and Lessons Learned. Public Health. Sep;123 Suppl 1:e23-30.
  • Lee N, Spoeth S. (2006) Encouraging African American Women to “Take Charge. Take The Test”: The Audience Segmentation Process for CDC’s HIV Testing Social Marketing Campaign. Social Marketing Quarterly. 12(3):16-28.
Shelly Spoeth