March 2010

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From the President

Social Media: A Driving Force for the Next Generation

By Phyllis J. Sloyer, RN, PhD, FAHM, FAAP 

While I admit I am a baby boomer, I am not a baby when it comes to the use of technology (although I really like my colleagues to believe I am clueless). Social media was a driving force in recent elections and it is a driving force for the next generation of professionals who will work in the maternal and child health field. I recall in my doctoral program, taking a course on globalization and was struck by how easy it is to communicate with my colleagues across the world. Remember the cost of a long distance call and the reluctance to spend too many minutes on the phone (especially if you were paying the bill)? Today, I sit in meetings and watch people Twitter continuously. It happens in just about every field. [read more]


From the CEO

Social Media for All

By Mike R. Fraser, PhD 

I am not that old, I mean, I just received a “Young and Aspiring CEO” award in November (to be honest I made the cutoff by 17 days) but nothing makes me feel older than the topic of social media. Why? I can certainly remember a time before computers, iPhones, and DVDs. A cell phone was where you got your one phone call in jail before lock up. One had to use the telephone to reconfirm an airline reservation, and seat assignments were stickers that were glued to your boarding pass. We had to type memos using a typewriter and I even remember carbon paper and white out. A facebook was a printed pamphlet that all first year students at my college received and we flipped through pages to find friends, their phone numbers, and hometowns. Twitter was a verb to describe something your heart did when you were in love, not a noun. Boy, thinking about all that really does make one feel old, doesn’t it?  [read more] 



Social Media 101

By Julio Arguello Jr.
Publications & Member Services Manager, AMCHP 

What is Social Media? According to Ron Jones, President and CEO of Symetri Internet Marketing, “Social media essentially is a category of online media where people are talking, participating, sharing, networking, and bookmarking online. Most social media services encourage discussion, feedback, voting, comments and sharing of information from all interested parties.”[i] Social media is more like a two-way conversation versus more traditional media (i.e., newspapers, television and film) which is more like a one-way conversation. [read more]

Text4baby- Why Go Mobile? And the Virginia Experience  

By Arlene Remick, MPH
Program Director, text4baby
National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition

Joan Corder-Mabe
Director, Division of Women's and Infant’s Health
Office of Family Health Services
Virginia Department of Health

Deborah Harris, MPH, RD, CDE
Women's Health Coordinator
Division of Women's and Infants' Health
Virginia Department of Health

Pregnant women and new moms can get health information delivered free to their mobile phones through a new innovative program called text4baby. An educational program of the National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition (HMHB), text4baby provides women with information to help them care for their health and give their babies the best possible start in life. Women who sign up for the service by texting BABY to 511411 (or BEBE in Spanish) receive free SMS text messages each week, timed to their due date or baby’s date of birth. [read more]

Are YOU Part of the Conversation? 

By Beverly Robertson, MLS, MA
National Director, Pregnancy & Newborn Health Education Center
March of Dimes

I know you have heard about social media. Twitter is everywhere and so is Facebook. Folks are posting pictures on Flickr, videos on YouTube and writing blog posts that can make you cry. Forty-two million women in the United States are online doing some form of social media every week. The statistics show the explosion of social media with a 1,107% increase on Twitter alone from 2009-1010. [read more]

Going Viral: How the CDC is Using Social Media to Improve Public Health

By Michelle Alletto, MPA
Senior Manager, Public Policy & Government Affairs, AMCHP

Facebook has over 400 million users and there are over 50 million Tweets posted to Twitter every day. With access to such a vast audience, it is no wonder that public health agencies are beginning to recognize the advantage of social media. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are certainly leaders in this arena. In 2009, CDC web buttons and badges had over 2.5 million clickthroughs, and its website,, had 800,331,892 page views!  [read more]


Member to Member

We asked one member the following question: How is the Utah Department of Health currently utilizing social media and what is the value?  [read more]

Who's New

AMCHP Welcomes New Program Associate Melody Gilbert

Melody joins AMCHP as the new Program Associate for the Program Team.  She will be working to support the State Public Health Coordinating Center on Autism and our general Program team activities. [read more]




Success Stories


Karis Schoellmann
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. [read more]


Mallory Cyr
Youth Coordinator, HRTW

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. [read more]

New Mexico

Danielle Fellguth
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. [read more]


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. [read more]


Michele Roberts, MPH, CHES
Health Promotion and Communication Manager Immunization Program CHILD Profile Washington Department of Health 

Yuchi Yang, MS, RD, CD
Nutrition Consultant
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. [read more]

View from Washington

Health Reform Legislation Passes! 

By Brent Ewig, MHS
Director of Public Policy & Government Affairs, AMCHP   

On March 21, the view from Washington changed in a seismic way when the U.S. House of Representatives passed a health reform package consisting of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act by a final vote of 219 to 212 and the Health Care and Education Affordability Reconciliation Act of 2010, also by a final vote of 220 to 211. Throughout this debate, AMCHP has used electronic media to try to keep our members, partners and friends in touch with the latest news from our nation’s capital. While we may not be on the forefront of Facebook, Twitter, and other emerging social media, we have tried to use the trusty stand-bys of email, our website – particularly our Health Reform Resource Hub – and interactive audio-conferences to offer multi-media options to learn what health reform means for state MCH programs. [read more]

Get Involved

Call for Feedback
The Disability and Health team at Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is in the process of improving its website. This improvement project includes the development of an online interactive database application to store and display data about people with disabilities compared to those without disabilities across a variety of health topics. [read more]

AAP Call for Abstracts
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is calling for abstracts for its 2010 National Conference and Exhibition to convene on October 1. AAP is interested in case presentations that address how practicing pediatricians have used health information technology to improve healthcare quality in their practices. [read more]

Data and Trends

Check out the Generational Differences in Online Activities from the Pew Internet & American Life Project.


View and download resources on Social Media. [read more]

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