Online Program

Alaska's Community Health Workers Speak Out About Digital Storytelling as a Community Engagement Tool

Wednesday, November 4, 2015 : 12:50 p.m. - 1:10 p.m.

Melany Cueva, RN, EdD, Community Health Aide Program, Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, Anchorage, AK
Katie Cueva, MAT, MPH, Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Harvard T.H.Chan School of Public Health, Boston, MA
Laura Revels, BA, Community Health Services, Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, Anchorage, AK
Regina Kuhnley, RN, CNM, M.Ed, Community Health Services, Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, Anchorage, AK
Mark Dignan, PhD, MPH, College of Medicine/Prevention Research Center, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY
Anne Lanier, MD, MPH, Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, Anchorage, AK
Alaska’s village-based Community Health Workers (CHWs) requested cancer information for themselves and their communities. An innovative health messaging tool, digital storytelling combines oral storytelling traditions with computer-based technology to provide a creative and engaging way for CHWs to tell their stories and pass on knowledge to support community wellness. Digital storytelling is portable and accessible using web technologies and social media outlets.

Methods: To explore digital storytelling as a tool for health messaging, creating digital stories was included in four, 5-day cancer education courses (March-October 2014).  Thirty CHWs, regardless of computer skills, each successfully created a digital story using free software. CHWs tracked their digital story showings for one month, and completed; end-of-course written evaluations, 2-3 month post-course interviews, and a 6 month internet survey. 

Results: CHWs reported increased confidence to share health information with family, friends, and clients. Creating digital stories gave CHWs a culturally relevant and meaningful tool to promote community wellness. Within one month, CHWs had collectively showed their stories over 57 times to over 959 viewers. Almost all (97%) of CHWs reported they felt more knowledgeable about sharing cancer information.  CHW comments illustrated their new-found comfort and commitment to talking about cancer: “I was never comfortable talking about cancer with family/patients. It's a hard subject. But I realize I really want my family/friends/people in my community around longer. I'm more comfortable talking about it now.”

Learning Areas:

Communication and informatics
Diversity and culture
Public health or related education

Learning Objectives:
Discuss digital storytelling as a culturally relevant health-messaging tool Describe CHWs’ increased confidence and commitment to share health information as a result of creating digital stories

Keyword(s): Health Promotion and Education, Native Americans

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have worked with the project team on cancer education with, and for, Alaska's community health aides since 2008. My scientific interests include social determinants of health and culturally appropriate approaches to wellness.
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.