New issue of Health Communication Science Digest

From the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC):

The November issue of Health Communication Science Digest (HCSD or Digest) is now available at

This month in the Digest there are several papers reporting new strategies and approaches for public health communication messaging (Appel & Mara; Chung & Slater; Gollust et al.; McKay-Nesbitt et al.; Miller-Day & Hecht; O’Malley & Latimer-Cheung) while others examine audience segmentation and targeting (Gerend et al; Greene; Krieger et al). Aspects of both traditional (Kuiper et al; Nabi & Thomas; Tucker et al) and new media (Head et al; Knobloch-Westerwich et al; Little et al; Phua; Rutsaert et al) in public health communication are reported in several studies. Health literacy considerations are highlighted in several studies (Bailey et al; Lincoln et al; Mackert et al; Rodríguez et al; Wickline & Sellnow).

Promoting oral health

HRSAFrom the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA):

Three new publications are available from the HRSA Information Service.

Hashtags of the Week (HOTW): About Communication (Week of November 25, 2013)

This past week saw several events and Twitter chats which included sub-conversations about the impacts of communication. This was communication in patient care, in education, in libraries, and even the research of conversation analysis and the rhetoric of communicating.

Where was this all happening? The Annual Convention for the National Council of Teachers of English (#ncte13), which overlapped with #ALAN13 and #CEL13; the mind-blowing #BBUM conversation last week about “Being Black at the University of Michigan”; the weekly #hcsm chat I mentioned last week; and the #MLibRes presentation this morning. The conversations were tough, gritty, real voices exploring the problems, challenges, impacts, and potential for change in how communication, terms, context, and assumptions touch our lives and the work we do. There are lessons for those involved with recruitment, diversity, content selection & curation, and patient care. Each tweet worth at least a read, and then worth thinking about a little bit more.

#NCTE13 / #ALAN13 / #CEL13




New YouTube channel from AHRQ

AHRQ_logoThe Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s new YouTube channel, AHRQ HealthIT highlights successful health information technology (IT) projects that focus on ways to enhance quality measurement, preventive care and medication management. These videos provide insights for health services researchers, health care providers, and patient advocates on how AHRQ research supports the use of health IT to improve quality, safety, efficiency and effectiveness of care.

For more AHRQ health IT information, visit, follow AHRQ on Facebook and Twitter, and subscribe to AHRQ’s other YouTube channel, AHRQ Health TV.

Public Response to Alerts and Warnings Using Social Media – New from NAP

Public Response to Alerts and Warnings Using Social Media:  Report of a Workshop on Current Knowledge and Research Gaps has just been published by the National Academies Press.

Following an earlier NRC workshop on public response to alerts and warnings delivered to mobile devices, a related workshop was held on February 28 and 29, 2012 to look at the role of social media in disaster response. This was one of the first workshops convened to look systematically at the use of social media for alerts and warnings—an event that brought together social science researchers, technologists, emergency management professionals, and other experts on how the public and emergency managers use social media in disasters.

In addition to exploring how officials monitor social media, as well as the resulting privacy considerations, the workshop focused on such topics as: what is known about how the public responds to alerts and warnings; the implications of what is known about such public responses for the use of social media to provide alerts and warnings to the public; and approaches to enhancing the situational awareness of emergency managers.

Public Response to Alerts and Warnings Using Social Media: Report of a Workshop on Current Knowledge and Research Gaps summarizes presentations made by invited speakers, other remarks by workshop participants, and discussions during parallel breakout sessions. It also points to potential topics for future research, as well as possible areas for future research investment, and it describes some of the challenges facing disaster managers who are seeking to incorporate social media into regular practice.

Purchase the book or download a free PDF at the National Academies Press web site.

New edition of health Communication Digest available


  • Seth Noar introduces an Audience-Channel-Message-Evaluation (ACME) framework for health communication campaigns.
  • Three studies highlight the negative impact of unhealthy mass media messages. Smoking is the focus of all three studies. Glantz et al. observe a substantial increase in onscreen smoking in youth-rated movies. Shandel et al. find that exposure to prosmoking messages is associated with acute changes in future smoking risk among emerging adults. Yuan et al. suggest that lay health influencers may be an important channel for tobacco cessation interventions.
  • The importance of understanding target audiences is illustrated in five studies. Cook-Craig et al. find, for instance, that interpersonal social networks are preferred by health information seekers in low-income urban neighborhoods. Concurrent evidence is provided by Divecha et al. who report that young urban parents prefer private forms of communication, rather than new media technologies, for conversations about sexual health. Yanez et al. emphasize the importance of patient-physician communication among Latinas. On the other hand, Weidman et al. observe that socially anxious individuals use the internet as a compensatory social media (i.e., minimizing face-to-face communication); a strategy that may result in poorer well-being. Johnson et al. outline communication strategies to effectively promote adoption of best practices.
  • Advanced approaches to message design in health communication endeavors are the focus of several studies. Bergkirst et al. suggest that including headlines can benefit short messages with pictorial metaphors. Both Chatterjee and Voorveld et al. examine media mix strategies to enhance cross-media campaign synergies. Both Hendriks et al. and Ledford report that health campaign message design variables can impact subsequent health conversations. Gainforth & Latimer, Hwang et al., and Rolison et al. exploremessage effects on health risk perceptions. And, Teten Tharp et al. discuss communication strategies forglobal dating violence prevention.
  • The effectiveness of health communication and social marketing interventions is demonstrated in severalstudies. Chervin et al. report that a health literacy intervention increased adults’ knowledge about health issues and self-efficacy. Howlett et al. illustrate how state-sponsored agricultural marketing programs increased adult fruit and vegetable consumption. Morrongiello et al. find that an interactive computer game can improve young children’s fire safety knowledge and behavior. Morrongiello et al. also report positive effects from a RCT evaluating the Supervising for Home Safety program.
  • Two studies examined new media behaviors. San José-Cabezudo & Camarero-Izquierdo examinedeterminants of opening and forwarding e-mail messages. van Noort et al. explore social connections and the persuasiveness of viral campaigns in digital social networking.

Read the complete issue here.



Using Science as Evidence in Public Policy – New from NAP

From the National Academies Press:

Using Science as Evidence in Public Policy encourages scientists to think differently about the use of scientific evidence in policy making. This report investigates why scientific evidence is important to policy making and argues that an extensive body of research on knowledge utilization has not led to any widely accepted explanation of what it means to use science in public policy. Using Science as Evidence in Public Policy identifies the gaps in our understanding and develops a framework for a new field of research to fill those gaps.

For social scientists in a number of specialized fields, whether established scholars or Ph.D. students, Using Science as Evidence in Public Policy shows how to bring their expertise to bear on the study of using science to inform public policy. More generally, this report will be of special interest to scientists who want to see their research used in policy making, offering guidance on what is required beyond producing quality research, beyond translating results into more understandable terms, and beyond brokering the results through intermediaries, such as think tanks, lobbyists, and advocacy groups. For administrators and faculty in public policy programs and schools, Using Science as Evidence in Public Policy identifies critical elements of instruction that will better equip graduates to promote the use of science in policy making.

Read or download the free PDF here.

Mind the Science Gap starts a new season!

Our friends at Mind the Science Gap have begun posting for the fall term.  check out this week’s first post (by former THL librarian Gilllian Mayman):  “Mommy, why do I need to wash my hands if I only pee?”

For those who don’t know, Mind the Science Gap is a project of a course on Communicating Science through Social Media. Each student on the course is required to post weekly articles here as they learn how to translate complex science into something a broad audience can understand and appreciate.

Read, enjoy, & comment!

Health in a Hair Salon: Outreach Project Rooted in Beauty Shop

From the National Library of Medicine:

MaFlo’s Beauty Salon in Georgetown, SC, population 8,441, is a compact 20-by-20-foot wooden-frame building with a newly erected sign in front that reads: “MaFlo’s Hairstyles & Designs by Marilynn–Health Awareness Team.”  In front, as you enter, are three hair drying chairs with portraits of clients on the walls above; on the right are two styling chairs; and on the left is a waiting area with several comfortable chairs, a desktop computer workstation, two laptops and a printer.

The styling and drying chairs are usually occupied and the computers switched on with several people gathered around screens displaying health information from the National Library of Medicine (NLM) consumer health Web site MedlinePlus.  “People sit around talking at a hair salon,” says Marilynn Lance-Robb, the founder and owner for the last 13 years of MaFlo’s Beauty Salon. “They’ll say to me that they have been diagnosed with something, maybe diabetes.  And we’ll look it up.”

Finding health information in a hair salon may seem like an odd combination, but it makes perfect sense. In addition to owning MaFlo’s, Lance-Robb teaches health and computer classes at the local library on her day off. And the computers with Wi-Fi Internet access at MaFlo’s are part of an innovative program that seeks to bring health information to underserved people. The funding comes from the National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NN/LM), Southeastern/Atlantic Region (SE/A). The National Network of Libraries of Medicine, anchored by eight Regional Medical Libraries and coordinated by the National Library of Medicine, was created to help health providers and the public access health information no matter where they live or work.

“We try to go to where the people are,” says Nancy Patterson, the Community Outreach Coordinator for Southeastern/Atlantic Regional Medical Library. “I call it ‘thinking inside the blocks.'” That means, she says, bringing health information to underserved people in their own environment.

To read the complete story, click here.