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Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, The University of Texas at Austin and Western University Host Public Health Symposium on Social Media

Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC) and The University of Texas at Austin, in partnership with Western University, are hosting the 2016 International Symposium on the Implementation of Social Media in Population and Community Health Initiatives. The symposium is designed specifically for professionals and clinicians in public and community health, informatics, health care, health communications and emergency health. This year’s topic is "Defining a Roadmap for Implementation of Social Media in Population and Community Health Initiatives.” The event will take place on January 29 at J. Neils Thompson Commons Building at the J.J. Pickle Research Campus, 10100 Burnet Road, Building 137, Austin, Texas, 78759.

“Social media is still an evolving medium; however, the importance of this communication medium cannot be over looked,” said Susan McBride, Ph.D., RN-BC, CPHIMS, TTUHSC School of Nursing professor. “More importantly, platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and even Snapchat reach important audiences.”

With the increasing use of these forms of communication technology in most areas of society, it is important that health professionals develop deeper insights and knowledge of social media technologies in order to use the technology to communicate with communities about their health. While social media is a well-established communication tool for many, adopting it for public health goals presents a number of challenges. The symposium will address these challenges and present solutions.

“We are improving how we plan and evaluate social media for public health in order to ensure this modality of communication continues to serve program recipients in an effective, convenient and ethical manner,” said Leanne Field, Ph.D., distinguished senior lecturer and director of the Health Informatics and Health Information Technology program at The University of Texas at Austin, which is co-hosting with TTUHSC.

This event will bring together health professionals, content experts and students from Canada and the U.S. to develop a better understanding of the current state of best practices for using social media in population health. The end goal of the symposium will be a white paper describing a comprehensive roadmap for implementation and evaluation for use of social media in public and population health initiatives.

“Social media is more than likes and retweets, but it’s also a vital forum for information sharing to the general public,” McBride said. “Plus, it is important to help combat myths by being the ‘go-to’ resource. Professionals should be working together to understand what works, what doesn’t. We need to share information across all sectors to increase awareness and, most importantly, have a positive impact on the health of communities.”

For more information, including the complete speaker lineup, travel information and registration visit http://nursing.ttuhsc.edu/symposium/index.html or follow the event on Twitter @phsmaustin1.

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