MCH Health Education/Communication Director
Louisiana Office of Public Health
The Stork Reality Campaign - The Louisiana Office of Public Health, MCH program has developed and incorporated a preconception health campaign into its Partners for Healthy Babies social marketing project. The importance of preconception health is well known and understood within the health community, but largely under recognized among the average American population. It is becoming clearer to health professionals, that prenatal care cannot address lifelong chronic disease, stress, poor access and utilization of healthcare that affects many women in Louisiana. In Louisiana roughly 50 percent of pregnancies are unplanned. It is important that the message of preconception health and its effects upon pregnancy outcomes be understood more widely. The target audience for The Stork Reality Campaign is primarily females, 18-34, statewide, who are not actively trying to get pregnant.
Sammy the Stork spends many evenings with his flock, (a street team) swooping in and out of neighborhood bars throughout the state, making new friends and spreading the word about the importance of preconception health. The campaign’s strategic approach combines traditional marketing methods (advertising and website) with grassroots efforts, supported by social media and online tactics. All drive traffic to TheStorkReality.com website. The website houses a series of videos where Sammy is interacting with the target audience. Besides a seven foot stork, a street team, social media (Facebook, Twitter and MySpace) and the website, other tactics to reach the audience in an unexpected way include indoor placements (bars, etc) of posters, coasters, along with TV/radio spots and interactive media. The campaign was initiated in the fall of 2009. The project monitors and evaluates all tactics. So far, results are being used to define clearer target audience segments and fine-tune strategies. Pre and Post test surveys have provided insight as to what parts of the “preconception health” message are more readily absorbed, and for which there is more resistance. For more information, please contact the Louisiana MCH program at (504) 568-3504.
Youth Coordinator, HRTW
In an age where technology is evolving faster than we can keep up, it only makes sense that we begin utilizing some of the social networking sites that keep popping up, as a true networking tool- especially with the younger generations.
In the state of Maine, we use a Facebook group as a way to connect with our youth advisory council. While it does not replace phone calls, or emails to relay important messages, it is an additional way to get bursts of information to the entire group, as well as providing the youth leaders with a way to connect with each other. During the meetings, there is minimal amount of time for social interaction, so having a source of virtual networking, gives the youth an opportunity to further bond with each other on a personal level and share their thoughts and interests beyond the agenda of the meeting. This helps create a stronger sense of trust within the group and creates a setting in which the youth feel more comfortable sharing stories and experiences about the system and their transition. Connecting with Facebook also adds a more personal touch as it allows us to upload photos from the meetings, which shows others the sort of activities that we do.
“For me, the Facebook group has helped with being updated with important messages or information about the meetings. It works as a friendly reminder, because the majority of the group members are likely to be on Facebook more than their email,” says YAC member, Noelle Lent.
We have also utilized the group to post current events or share resources that may be useful. This helps to continue dialogue within the group in between the face-to-face meetings. With someone serving as a moderator, to facilitate and supervise activity, Facebook and other social networking sites can be a very valuable tool for engaging youth.
Kids As Self Advocates (KASA) Board member, with input from the KASA Board
National Kids As Self Advocates (KASA) uses two social networking websites, NING and Facebook, to help us stay organized and reach out to our network. NING is a social networking site where people can create a “NING group” that they then use to connect with other members of the group using their group’s profile page. Members of that group can post blogs, send messages to other members of the group, start and participate in discussions, send out event invitations, upload photos and more. KASA’s NING group has proven to be extremely beneficial to us mainly because it helps us stay organized. We use the blog feature to post our Board call minutes and/or any other notes we may have. This puts them all in one place and makes it easy for us to find specific information when we need to. KASA uses the event invitation feature to keep track of the times and dates of our Committee and Board calls and to remind people of upcoming calls. By doing this, we ensure that no call is scheduled on the same day or at the same time as another call and that everyone knows when their calls are scheduled. One lesson that KASA has learned by using NING is that you save a lot of time when looking for specific information if it’s all organized and in one place.
In addition to a NING profile, KASA has a Facebook group that we use to help us connect our membership with one another. People that have joined our Facebook group can keep up on current advocacy issues through messages and wall posts, otherwise known in KASA as “instant advocacy.” People in the group can also talk to one another about how they are doing personally. Having the Facebook group has also managed to get more people interested in KASA and the great work that we are doing. Overall, through using social networking websites, we have learned organizational skills and how valuable our strong network of supporters are to us because without those two things we wouldn’t be where we are today.
Jennifer Young, MPH, RD
Nutrition and Physical Activity Coordinator
Office of Family Health
Public Health Division, DHS
Oregon’s WIC and Adolescent Health sections set up and administer a Facebook page to educate about marketing of junk food to kids. The Facebook page is for the Too Many Ads: Marketing Junk Food to Kids Campaign that the Nutrition Council of Oregon is running. The Office of Family Health is one of the members of the Nutrition Council of Oregon. There are well over 800 fans and the Facebook site continues to grow. This effort has been implemented in combination with a poster campaign on MAX and Trimet buses, and posters sent to pediatric medical and dental clinics, child care providers, preschools, Head Start, WIC programs, and most recently, libraries. In addition to the posters, the campaign has produced bookmarks to promote the Facebook site. To learn more about this innovative use of Facebook, visit here.
Michele Roberts, MPH, CHES
Health Promotion and Communication Manager Immunization Program CHILD Profile Washington Department of Health
Yuchi Yang, MS, RD, CD
Children with Special Health Care Needs Program Washington
The Washington State Department of Health started using Twitter in late summer 2009 as part of an effort to get West Nile virus messages out in real time. In the fall the agency broadened its approach by adding H1N1 information. This was especially helpful in getting messages out to MCH populations - like pregnant women - and reminding parents to get children under 10 years of age two doses of vaccine. In fact, the message about kids needing two doses was one of the H1N1 tweets that got the most activity after it was posted. The department has promoted the site through news releases and links on its online newsroom page. It also uses the Twitter site to give advance notice of some upcoming news releases, which gives reporters an extra incentive to sign on. As a result, the agency has seen the number of online "followers" grow from a handful in the summer to more than 300 today. Many of the followers are "retweeting" agency information regularly, which helps the agency reach thousands more. Like other social media tools, the more you put in to it and the more timely and relevant your information is, the more your followers will get out of it and share information with others. The agency is tracking the time spent, resources and lessons learned from this initial effort. Communications staff is using that information as it works on agency-wide guidelines. You can follow the Washington State Department of Health here.
Also, DOH sponsored a recent Tribal H1N1 Public Service Announcement, which is posted on YouTube and the Washington State Maternal and Child Health Office has shared/promoted text4baby to local health departments in the central region. Additionally, Washington State has posted legal issues on the state agency use of social media here.