173785 Addressing urban teen sexual health through social marketing

Wednesday, October 29, 2008: 11:00 AM

Karen Schoneman, MA , Health Communication Services, The Medical Foundation, Boston, MA
Nancy Lyons, MPH , Health Communication Services, The Medical Foundation, Boston, MA
Chlamydia and gonorrhea rates are disproportionately high among black and Latino teens in urban areas of Massachusetts. Funded by the state and using a social marketing approach, The Medical Foundation developed a brand of teen-friendly health services, including sexual health services, and an accompanying website and campaign, “URhealthstyle” (www.URhealthstyle.com). Audience research showed that young people view their health in a holistic way (non-sexual as well as sexual health issues) and are concerned with stigma and privacy issues; therefore, they may not be as receptive to a health message or services addressing only sexual health. Additionally, many adolescents across the state did not know how to access a variety of health services, particularly those that are confidential and teen-friendly.

The website's primary feature is a searchable database of a “virtual network” of health and social service providers offering health and social services to adolescents. The website and brand have been marketed via print publications and collateral items distributed through network providers, street marketing teams, and public transit media; a training initiative will support the development of peer health leader groups, through which young people can educate their peers about sexual health and promote the URhealthstyle brand and services.

Discussion will include the value of audience research, how findings shaped the ultimate direction of the campaign, and how the campaign was executed with the active involvement of young people (in the roles of creative development and marketing).

Learning Objectives:
• How to engage in meaningful audience research • How to apply research findings to campaign approach • How to address stigma and privacy concerns by framing sexual health in a holistic way

Keywords: Health Communications, Adolescent Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I managed the project (including formative research) and developed the campaign. I am trained in health communication theory and practice.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.