Monday, October 26, 2015

This is Health Education: GASOPHE Reminded Me Why I love Health Education

2 days of networking and collaborating with passionate health educators. That is what I was able to expereience at the GASOPHE conference.

Day 1: Health Communication & Social Marketing Workshop
I was really excited to learn that I was already performing many of the strategies used in Health Communcation & Social Marketing. In Social Marketing we apply marketing concepts to promote social ideas and actions. Dr. Jorgensen gave a great overview social marketing principles, planning, and social media. We reviewed the 4 Ps of marketing: Product, Price, Place, and Promotion. In public health our products are: ideas, health products, services, and behaviors or practices. we have to show value in our product, minimize effort involved to access/use product, and we have to create engaging products.

Here are some of the insights I was able to share with the class and my "Blogging"group.

How Bloggers can help spread your health message:
- they have direct access to your community
- most bloggers have a specific audience/niche (narrow-casting): food, fitness, mothers, etc ; we can help you expand your reach in our specific niche.
- invite a blogger to be a VIP and allow them access to your event for some free marketing and publicity
- help hosting a giveaway
- my highest interactions come from sharing blog posts with my facebook community, promote across all of your channels
- help managing social media accounts; most of us are pretty tech savvy and are managing multiple social media accounts already

Have you ever partnered with a blogger to promote you event or help spread your health message? Bloggers have you ever partnered with a health agency?

Blogging is health promotion. I am excited to use what I learned to package my message in a way that aligns with National Physical Activity, Obesity Prevention, and Diabetes Prevention programming. Collaboration is key for chronic disease prevention!

Day 2: Fall Summit
I started Day 2 just after lunch. I had a few classes I had to teach prior to getting my geek on. I got there just in time for lunch.

During lunch I did some light networking and started mapping out my classes for the day. My goal was to choose classes that covered topics I had less experience in. I got more than I expected, my options were a bit overwhelming, but I gained so many great resources!

Developing Strategies for Evaluating the Impact of Policies on Community Health
Evaluation is so important in determining effectiveness and documenting your process. In my physical activity programs there is always pre and post testing, how else would clients know they have made progress. Why wouldn't the same strategy be applied to programming.

We used a case study to practice our evaluation skills. We reviewed the inputs, outputs, and outcomes in a logic model to help us evaluate our case. We discussed free resources for evaluation, specifically the CDC Framework. What tools do you use for evaluation? I was glad to speak with some professionals who specialize in evaluation, at least I have some contacts if I am ever looking for a good framework.

Using the Community Readiness Model to Activate Communities
This workshop provided plenty of hands on experience and resources. We walked through the process of identifying the issue, defining your community, and choosing key respondents.Then we reviewed sample CRA interview questions. Then we practiced scoring the various dimensions of awareness: community knowledge of efforts, leadership, community climate, knowledge of issue, and resources related to the issue. I have never used the community readiness model but now at least i have a deeper knowledge of the protocol and its application. I love learning!

Chronic Disease Prevention: Policy, Systems, and Environmental Change
This session was a really great example of how collaborations and health policy create change. Ms. Warren discussed current collaborations with American Heart Association, American Planning Association, Women Infant and Children services, Society for Public Health Educators, and Directors of Health Promotion and Education; Partnering4Health. Their goal is to collaborate to educate, support the community, and promote initiatives. Ms. Gibson discussed success with Tobacco Policy in creating smoke free spaces through Savannah. I always thought if I were to go back to school it might be in the area of Health Policy. Policy/laws impact all of our work. It was great to hear collaboration and policy success stories.

Key Takeaways
- Blogging is Health Promotion!
- There are so many FREE resources for programming and evaluation that I could be using
- Collaboration is key  for chronic disease prevention
- We are all learning as we go
- This is my tribe

The participants at the conference were all at different stages in their careers. I have expertise in social marketing, health communication, physical activity, and program implementation. Other people at the conference were experts in evaluation, data assessment, and policy. I was reminded how big the Public Health world is. There is room for everyone. It was refreshing to be around such passionate colleagues. They reminded me why I got into this field and why I love health education. Passion, variety, and ability to make huge changes in peoples lives through programming and policy.

Health and Happiness,


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