Social Media for Public Health
As part of the Taubman Health Sciences Library’s ‘Social Media for Public Health’ subcontract with the National Network of Libraries of Medicine, Greater Midwest Region (NN/LM GMR), liaison librarians are working with the public health practice community in Michigan to expand the use of effective and engaging social media technologies by providing training, resources, and an online community for sharing information.
Using the $39,836 subcontract award, liaison librarians Whitney Townsend, Lorelei Woody, and Gillian Mayman created the social network ‘Social Media for Public Health’ using the Ning hosting platform. The site includes ten self-paced training modules on various social media tools such as Twitter, blogs, and RSS, which guide users through the basics of each tool, including key features, how to setup an account, and examples of its use in public health. These tutorials were pilot tested by nearly 50 staff members from the Saginaw County Department of Public Health (SCDPH). Spanning a wide range of ages and technical abilities, SCDPH staff members interacted with and responded to each tutorial as it went live, providing valuable feedback in the site’s development.
Although initially developed with a local public health department in Michigan, the tools, resources, and training modules are openly available online and the social networking site is structured for both individual and organizational participation. This project aims to help increase public health professionals’ familiarity and comfort with using social media tools; demonstrate the relevance of social media tools in public health practice work and provide an online community for public health professionals to learn, share, and connect. Building on this grant project, the Taubman Health Sciences Library has further partnered with the Michigan Public Health Training Center to support an online, for-credit course for public health professionals.
This is the fifth subcontract for the Taubman Health Sciences Library funded by the National Network of Libraries of Medicine, Greater Midwest Region. Other projects have focused on health literacy, outreach to the community with disabilities, public health 2.0, and public health informatics. This project has been funded in whole or in part with federal funds from the National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services, under contract no. N01-LM-6-3503 with the University of Illinois at Chicago.