Social media platforms have become an increasingly important tool in supporting public health protection and promotion. This session will highlight effective models of social media use in public health to engage and educate community members as well as to address communication gaps. Using examples from health promotion and communicable disease control, this session will examine how social media campaigns have been used successfully in Ontario to expand the reach of public health messaging and initiatives.
Connecting with Parents through Facebook to Support Healthy Child Development
In November 2014, Ottawa Public Health (OPH) launched the Parenting in Ottawa (PiO) Facebook page. With over 15,500 followers to date, the Facebook page allows OPH to connect with Ottawa parents on a daily basis.
In this session, Ottawa Public Health (OPH) will share some of the successes and challenges with the Facebook page and present on processes required for maintaining the PiO Facebook page. They will also report on the findings of the evaluation of the page that was conducted in 2017.
Using Social Media as a Tool for Communicable Disease Control
In 2017, Toronto Public Health (TPH) experienced the largest mumps outbreak in over 20 years. Most of the cases were adults aged 18-35 with links to west downtown Toronto bars, and 75% were not adequately vaccinated. Novel outreach strategies using social media attempted to reach this population.
This presentation will examine social media statistics from the three phases of the outbreak. Across all phases, the statistics were positive and performed well above the industry standards for social media engagement rates. The presentation will also explore how using innovative and ongoing communication and social media strategies to target different groups of young adults can be a low-cost and necessary addition to traditional outbreak control strategies.
By the end of this session, participants will be able to:
• Identify applications of social media to health protection and promotion, as well as strategies for implementation
• Analyze potential impacts of Facebook on health communication strategies and policies for public health, including privacy and technological issues
• Describe evaluation challenges with using Facebook as a tool for public health
• Describe how public health units have used social media strategies for parent engagement and outbreak control
Victoria Cole is a Program Planning Management Officer at Ottawa Public Health focusing on evidence generation, dissemination, and knowledge exchange. One of her roles involves developing tools and strategies around staff capacity building.
Bev Croft has been a Public Health Nurse at Ottawa Public Health for over 18 years. Within recent years, her focus has been on program development of the Ottawa Breast Feeding Buddies and Prenatal Classes.
Melanie Clayton has been Public Health Nurse at Ottawa Public Health for 10 years. Her role is to moderate, plan content and manage the PiO Facebook page. She is a board certified lactation consultant and is passionate about maternal and child health.
Dr. Vinita Dubey is an Associate Medical Officer of Health for Toronto Public Health with a particular focus on vaccine preventable diseases.
Jill MacLachlan is a Health Marketing Specialist for Toronto Public Health. A graduate of McMaster University's Life Science program and OCAD University's Fine Art program, Jill brings an artistic lens to an evidence based, data driven field.
The opinions expressed by speakers and moderators do not necessarily reflect the official policies or views of Public Health Ontario, nor does the mention of trade names, commercial practices, or organizations imply endorsement by Public Health Ontario.
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