247612 Using the viral effect of child-generated posters to disseminate public health education about sun safety in a rural community

Monday, October 31, 2011

Telisa Stewart, DrPH , Norris Cotton Cancer Center, Lebanon, NH
Anna Adachi-Mejia, PhD , Norris Cotton Cancer Center, Dartmouth Medical School, Lebanon, NH
Ceceila Gaffney, MEd , Department of Community and Family Medicine, Dartmouth Medical Scool, Lebanon, NH
Ardis Olson, MD , Pediatrics and Community/Family Medicine, Dartmouth Medical School, Lebanon, NH
We would like to report on a community-based intervention using the viral effect of child-generated posters to disseminate public health information about sun safety in a rural community. The initial seed started with a single person a local public health prevention expert who presented evidence-based materials about sun-safety awareness (SunSafe: http://rtips.cancer.gov/rtips/programDetails.do?programId=180266) to one high school teacher. This teacher then shared the materials with her high school student community mentor group (N=36). These student mentors brought the program to the local third grade class (N=66). The third graders, coached by the high school mentors, each created hand-drawn posters with sun safety messages. Of the posters generated, 64 were displayed throughout the community through local businesses. The posters featured sun safety themes such as remembering to wear sunscreen and using cover-up materials (umbrellas, hats, shirts, sunglasses). These posters were featured in the local newspaper serving over 10,000 people, as well as the community outreach newsletter from the local hospital. Employers reported having a sense of community engagement by being involved with poster display. They reported seeing children expressing enjoyment in looking for their posters in the community. Parents reported children acting as teachers to their parents, for example reminding them to wear sunscreen. Local residents, particularly seniors, reported enjoying seeing student work displayed throughout the community. Engaging stakeholders ranging from youth to local businesses using simple tools such as youth-generated hand-drawn posters is an effective strategy for community engagement and public health dissemination in rural areas.

Learning Areas:
Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Communication and informatics
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related education
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe an innovative approach to information dissemination in a rural community. Identify how different stakeholders in the community can contribute to a viral effect of public health messaging. Demonstrate community engagement by residents across the lifespan.

Keywords: Cancer Prevention, Community-Based Health Promotion

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a coauthor on the paper and I facilitated the intervention
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.