Public Health Professionals and Social Media: Really? This Group? What!

Keller, Labrique, Jain, et. al have an original paper “Mind the Gap: Social Media Engagement by Public Health Researchers” in JMIR. They set out to evaluate how extensively social media is used in the public health sector. Their online survey in 2011 of social media beliefs and practices at John Hopkins School of Public Health was the first of its kind.

Our results suggest that despite a substantial appreciation for the potential of social media to serve as a component of public health strategy, only a small minority of public health faculty are actually engaged in this space professionally.

Well there you go what the authors discovered matches what we see online in chats, Twitter, FB, etc. the same faces and voices speaking into an echo chamber. Yet we have a huge community of patients who are searching, speaking, sharing, and more online to improve their healthcare. The 20% of the public health researchers need to match the behavior of those patients who want to find solutions to problems they want to solve. 

So let’s peek into the mind of those who were surveyed. Below is Wordle diagram on current and desired uses of social media in public health research and practice. 

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