142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition

Annual Meeting Recordings are now available for purchase

FactNotFiction.com: Harnessing social media for comprehensive sex education outreach to Mississippi youth

142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition (November 15 - November 19, 2014): http://www.apha.org/events-and-meetings/annual
Tuesday, November 18, 2014 : 3:42 PM - 4:00 PM

Kathleen Ragsdale, PhD , Social Science Research Center, Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, MS
Laura R. Walton, PhD, APR , Social Science Research Center, Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, MS
Sydney K. Harper, MS, CHES , Social Science Research Center, Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, MS
Jamie H. Bardwell, MPP , Women’s Foundation of Mississippi, Jackson, MS
Carol B. Penick, BA , Women’s Foundation of Mississippi, Jackson, MS
Background: Mississippi has the second highest teen birth rate in the nation (50.2 per 1,000). Inadequate comprehensive sex education (CSE) is linked to adolescent childbearing. House Bill 999 required Mississippi schools to adopt abstinence-only or CSE by 2012, of which 47% chose CSE. However, the bill restricts CSE content (e.g., condom demonstrations), requires parental consent, and does not require curricula be evidence-based. Such restrictions limit youths’ full access to CSE, which is important because 58% of Mississippi high schoolers are sexually active (versus 47% nationwide). To address this, FactNotFiction.com (http://www.factnotfiction.com) was launched in OCT 2012 to provide CSE to Mississippi youth.

Methods: Reviews of Google Analytics and Facebook Insights six months after launch identified two challenges: 1) the bounce rate among mobile phone users was unacceptably high; 2) first-time visitors were not returning. After re-examining the developer’s assumption that Mississippi youth don’t have smart phones, we redesigned site to be smart phone-responsive and converted the website into a dynamic Tumblr site. Both were launched in APR 2013. Results: From OCT-DEC 2012 to APR-DEC 2013: 1) visits jumped from 8,848 to 34,160; 2) return visits jumped from 12% to 26%; 3) monthly visits averaged 3,700; 4) average time on the site jumped from 0.47 to 1.03 minutes; 5) 69% of visits were from Mississippi.

Discussion: Using social media to deliver CSE to youth is promising. A site’s outreach must be closely monitored—especially in the first months after launch—so the team can rapidly respond/redesign the site when gaps are identified.

Learning Areas:

Advocacy for health and health education
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related education
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe an eHealth project to use social media to enhance comprehensive sex education (CSE) among Mississippi youth through development and launch of the FactNotFiction website.

Keyword(s): Social Media, Sexual Risk Behavior

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have conducted research on the social determinants of health among minority and vulnerable populations across areas including teen pregnancy prevention, eHealth interventions, CBPR, nutrition education, infant health, and program evaluation. I am the lead coordinator on three eHealth-related projects funded by NIH and USDA, among others. In this capacity, I have oversight on video production, website design and implementation, and social media outreach.
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.