Genomics Forum Blog

Friday, August 28, 2009

Social Media as a Public Health Tool

I recently attended the Third Annual National Conference on Health Communication, Marketing, and Media. As a professional communicator, I was eager to hear the presentations in the conference, especially given this year’s tagline: participation powers prevention. Although I gained deep insight into the kind of health communication research and projects taking place around the country, I was most struck by the integration of new media strategies in the overall conference program.

I’ll share just a few examples in this post. First, before attending the conference I received an invitation to join a Ning group created specifically for conference participants. Nedra Weinrich initiated the community at Events, blogs, tips, networking, and discussions started within this online community before the conference and have been continuing in the days after the meeting. Second, conference participants used Twitter hashtags to aggregate live, conference-related tweets. The tweet archive including 500 tweets from the meeting is available at

The outcome of these social media tactics (which include much more than the two examples I gave above) created enhanced access, information sharing, networking, and creativity among people who were interested in the conference, regardless of their ability to attend in person. It is a case study for how interdisciplinary dialogue on the issues we’re all facing in health can be facilitated through emerging technology.

But, it also points to the possibilities for using emerging technology in public health and genomics. CDC’s use of social media in response to H1N1 Flu is a case for continued exploration into social media’s application to public health. Check out for more information on how CDC is using social media in public health.

If you’re interested in integrating some of social media strategies into your professional toolbox, take a look at to learn more. Their how to section may be a good starting point for beginning your research.

-Tiphané Turpin

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Membership Communications Committee Update

The Membership and Communications Committee is working hard to increase membership and promote our new website. We have a few projects to work on and are looking to move our committee calls to be more accessible to members who wish to join us. We are currently looking to schedule our next meeting time by using a Doodle Poll. If you are not on the Membership Committee but wish to be on our calls in the future, please respond to the Doodle Poll by click the link ( or you can e-mail Tiphane or myself if you have questions or concerns about making future calls.

We look forward to having any of you on future calls!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Policy Committee Update

The Policy Committee has been hard at work revamping the piece on Genetics and Health Literacy. We've been making great progress! Our goal is to have a completed second version available for the membership as a whole by the November meeting at APHA. The committee has also discussed starting a second policy piece surrounding the theme of personalized medicine. We're looking for someone to start pulling together a few ideas - if you're interested please let the committee leadership know.

We will be having our next Policy call on Wednesday August 12th at 3 (eastern). Anyone interested in seeing the progress so far, contributing to the development of a specific policy, or other Policy Committee interests in general, whether you're regularly on the calls or not, should feel free to join us!