268517 Public health gets a URL: Building an online community of public health professionals and decision-makers with a news planning approach

Monday, October 29, 2012 : 3:30 PM - 3:45 PM

Carlos Roig, MA, MSJ , Senior Vice President, Digital Media and Broadcast Strategy, Home Front Communications, Washington, DC
Joe Marx , Senior Communications Officer, Public Health Team, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Princeton, DC
Ari Kramer , Communications Associate, Public Health Team, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Princeton, NJ
Jessica Mark, MPH, CPH , Senior Editor, Digital Media and Broadcast Strategy, Home Front Communications, Washington, DC
Catherine Andrews, MSJ , Senior Digital Media Manager, Digital Media and Broadcast Strategy, Home Front Communications, Washington, DC
Background: Solving the nation's health crisis will take more than improvements to health care. We need to identify new ways to prevent disease and illness where they begin in communities. Online forums are an effective channel for professionals to connect and collaborate across sectors, exchange best practices and share success stories. Methods: In spring 2011, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation launched NewPublicHealth.org to create a vibrant online destination for public health information and discussion. The Foundation's Public Health team aimed to build a site with cross-sector appeal, and develop and distribute content using a news planning approach. The target audiences include both public health professionals and other leaders whose decisions can impact the public's health. The site is staffed by professional communicators including former journalists who create multi-perspective content for a dynamic digital news cycle. NewPublicHealth.org highlights free, publicly available tools (such as Wordpress, Twitter, Facebook and Storify) and offers best practices for using these tools, based on communications principles (such as eye-catching headlines, stories that matter, content curation and redistribution opportunities). Results: NewPublicHealth.org has accrued more than 230,000 page views from more than 100,000 unique visitors. Contributors include public health and government officials; researchers; and leaders in business, transportation, education and urban planning. Conclusion: This forum serves as a case study for using an online communications channel to advance public health objectives, forge connections and spark interdisciplinary dialogue. The lessons learned can be applied and scaled for health communications efforts for both large and small organizations.

Learning Areas:
Communication and informatics
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe how thinking like a news organization can change the way you create and distribute content 2. List the tools and technologies available to disseminate public health content and engage public health audiences 3. Demonstrate communications best practices to building an online communications channel

Keywords: Communication, World Wide Web

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I develop and refine digital media roadmaps for our clients, with particular emphasis on engaging online audiences and building community around content, including spearheading the launch of NewPublicHealth.org. Prior to joining Home Front, I led the sitewide development of new online communities for USA Today. I directed cross-departmental teams in conceiving, launching and growing topic-focused sites with national reach and ambitious goals.
Any relevant financial relationships? Yes

Name of Organization Clinical/Research Area Type of relationship
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Digital media Consultant

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.