230112 Building health provider capacity for environmental health through web-based media

Tuesday, November 9, 2010 : 5:10 PM - 5:30 PM

Laura Anderko, RN, PhD , School of Nursing and Health Studies, Georgetown University, Washington, DC
Chris Anderko, BFA , Big Shoulders, Chicago, IL
Carrie Fahey , School of Nursing and Health Studies, Georgetown University, Washington, DC
Background: Despite the Institute of Medicine's landmark report supporting environmental health education for nursing, environmental health assessment and screening in public health remains scarce. Because of the increasing popularity of fish as a source of dietary protein, a significant percentage of the US population may be at risk for methylmercury (MeHg) induced health problems. Nurses and other public health professionals are often asked by their families and communities about the benefits and risks of fish consumption. Conflicting media messages about these health risks and benefits, coupled with limited health professional training, has led to confusion by health professionals about advising communities about safe fish consumption. Giving health professionals the tools and materials to effectively advise people is essential for improving the public's health. There is currently no widely used, core content to educate health professionals on the subject of fish consumption: risks, benefits, and public health advisories. Description: "Fish Facts for Health Professionals" was a collaborative effort between environmental, public health, medical, nursing, and media experts from across the country to create an educational series about the risks and benefits of fish consumption and MeHg exposure. Building on podcasts which have become a popular form of professional learning, this media series comprised of four, 3-5 minute media modules was designed for busy health professionals interested in learning more about integrating risk and benefit information into practice. Using interviews and real case studies, the media modules added a strong visual element while remaining conversational in tone. A workbook with more detailed information complemented the media series. Lessons learned: Technically, the selection of scientific and visual information to fit within the 3-5 minute time limit was challenging. Clinically, achieving consensus on standards of care for screening and treating MeHg induced health problems was difficult given a paucity of specific guidelines. Post-test scores indicate a high pass rate (90%). An average of 500 participants per month has viewed the series and comments reflect a high level of satisfaction. Recommendations: The critical need for health professional education in environmental health issues may be addressed through short, web-based media modules which are universally accessible.

Learning Areas:
Communication and informatics
Environmental health sciences
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related education
Public health or related nursing

Learning Objectives:
1. Discuss the need for public health providers, including nurses to understand how environment impacts population health. 2. Describe how web-based media can be used to increase knowledge in the area of environmental health. 3. Identify lessons learned in the development of a web-based media approach to public health and environmental education. 4. Articulate how the application of a web-based media approach might be effective for other public health topics.

Keywords: Media, Public Health Education

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I was the PI on the project, have over 20 years experience in academia (public health nursing), and and 15 years experience in environmental health (including member of the EPA's Children Health Protection Advisory Committee).
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.