212811 Health promotion in the most unusual places

Wednesday, November 11, 2009: 1:00 PM

Carolyn Medina, MA, MLIS , Texas Department of State Health Services, Austin, TX
Background: Wristbands, supermarket receipts, Facebook pages, cell phones, I-Pods… what do all of these tools have in common? Unlikely as it may seem, they all have been outlets for health promotion messages.

Purpose: This paper reviews the use of social media by public health organizations to spread the message of healthy living.

Methods: A review of articles in PubMed, Ebsco Academic Search, Lexis-Nexis and a Google search were conducted to see who is using new social media to reach out to target audiences with public health messages

Results: Interactive websites, Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, YouTube and podcasting have been used by the American Public Health Association, the Centers for Disease Control, and the National Library of Medicine, as well as some local health departments. Specific examples of blogs and Twitter messages used to promote National Public Health Week were found. Mobile phone text messages are so commonly used now that the Cochrane Collaboration has created a protocol on the use of these messages.

Conclusions/discussion: There are challenges involved because of the computer security issues involved but social media is no longer just for kids or Hollywood. It can be an excellent way to touch hard-to-reach audiences with positive health messages.

Learning Objectives:
Discuss the challenges involved with the use of social media in public health. Describe finding of literature review conducted to see who is using new social media to reach out to target audiences with public health messages.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been teaching public health classes to adults for the past 12 years. I have also published columns in the Texas Public Health Association Journal since 2003. I have a Masters degree in Latin American Studies and a Masters in Library and Information Science.
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.