Online Program

Effective media-public health collaboration in a public health emergency: Soaring obesity and chronic disease rates

Tuesday, November 5, 2013 : 4:50 p.m. - 5:10 p.m.

Kate Long, MA, Charleston Gazette, Charleston, WV
Nancy O'Hara Tompkins, PhD, Prevention Research Center; Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV
Adam Martin, MPH, Prevention Research Center, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV
Emily Murphy, PhD, Families and Health, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV
Elaine Bowen, EdD, Families and Health, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV
Public health advocates often engage the media to get their message out in a public health emergency, but sometimes it happens the other way around. This session will explore the impact of the yearlong Charleston Gazette series, The Shape We're In, which included 55 high-profile newspaper articles about West Virginia's leading rates of obesity and chronic disease. The presenter created this series to stimulate sustained debate and action among individuals, agencies and policy makers. She extended its impact by forming partnerships with several statewide non-media networks, including the state social worker network, the Healthy Kids and Families Coalition, the Association of Counties and the West Virginia University Extension Service. The presenter will discuss these collaborations and help participants create plans for similar media-public health collaborations in their own areas. She will outline impacts attributed to the series, including a new policy expanding the time devoted to physical activity by the state afterschool network and use of the series by state legislators as study materials. She will discuss post-publication plans to extend the series reach, including collaboration with the West Virginia Prevention Research Center on a Web site classroom resource for higher education and trainings sponsored by the state's Community Transformation Grant to help local health advocates stimulate media coverage of chronic disease in their communities. The presenter interviewed more than 200 people to create 55 high-profile newspaper articles which were linked to national research and resources, with the help of the West Virginia Prevention Research Center.

Learning Areas:

Advocacy for health and health education
Chronic disease management and prevention

Learning Objectives:
Identify three ways local media could collaborate with public health advocates to advance public health issues. Formulate a plan to identify interested members of the media and collaborate with media in their own communities on public health issues that affect the whole community. Describe at least one situation in which media advocacy influenced policy, practice, or behavior change.

Keyword(s): Advocacy, Chronic Diseases

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Journalist Kate Long conducted all interviews and wrote all stories for The Shape We're In. A former community organizer, she has reported on public health issues for 25 years for print and radio. To increase the series impact, she engaged community organizations to distribute the series, create a Web site and spin off events such as conferences and walking campaigns. She has won national awards for her work, including UCLA's Loeb Award.
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.