NIEHS Annual Meeting 2007

Thanks to all of the staff of the NIEHS Centers’ Community Outreach and Education cores “COECs” for contributing to a very interesting meeting last week. We enjoyed showing off the beautiful fall in Corvallis and having conversations around our outreach endeavors with great food and wine.

Here are my slides from Social Networking, Podcasting, and New Partnerships. Below you can listen to an example podcast that was created during the presentation. An Edirol R-09 field recorder was placed on the table in front of me. I edited the mp3 file using Audacity editing software, which is free to download. Future posts will talk more about the technology.

Presentation notes and resources:

Ten years ago, putting information on the web to inform the public about the research going on within the university was considered “innovative”.  Now, we cannot rely on just putting information on the “superhighway” and expecting people to find it and find that it is useful to them.  Today, the web is all about social networks. It is a platform to build relationships and now what is “innovative” for outreach is being able to create engaging learning communities that incorporate the principles of Web. 2.0 – new media, such as podcasting, blogs, wikis, and lots of emerging technologies that create conversations and engagement.

For our work in environmental health community education, it is valuable to understand how the public uses the web to get health information. 80% of the US Internet Users start at a search engine to find health information. Just 15% say they always check the source. Internet statistics can be found at the Pew Internet and American Life Project.

According to Ad Age’s Digital Marketing & Media Fact Pack, the top five sites visited for health are WebMd Health,, MSN Health, Everyday Health and Health.  It is interesting to observe where these sites (except NIH) get health information and news.  Also it is valuable to consider partnering and putting information where people are already going, rather than expecting people to find your site.   If we “google” “environmental health”, NIEHS comes up after sites such as CDC, WHO, and Wikepedia. On the Wikipedia ”environmental health” page, NIEHS is not listed as a link. Together, we can make a difference. If you have a perspective on this please comment.

One example of a site incorpating social media, is patientslikeme where patients can share their experiences and help others.  PatientsLikeMe “is committed to providing a better, more effective way to capture valuable results and share them with patients, healthcare professionals, and industry organizations that are trying to treat the disease”.

The Science Pub coming from the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) is a great example of taking science education to adults in an environment where we know they love to be here in the Northwest – in a pub drinking microbrews. Science Pub incorporates social networking, new media and fun into science education.  It begins with trivia and prizes and is available on a podcast for those who missed the event.  Educational conversations continue well after the event on personal blogs. This format started in Europe – see Cafe Scientifique .

Regarding Adult Education consider……

  • There are 108.7 million blogs and 175,000 new blogs are being created every day.
  • More than 40% of the visitors to MySpace are between the ages of 35-54. MySpace experienced a 158% increase in unique visitors between Sept. ’05 and Sept. ’06.
  • During 2006, the number of adults who had downloaded a podcast grew more than 70% in 6 months alone.
  • A podcasting audience totaling 10 million in 2006 will by many estimates grow to 55 million by 2011.

What I like most about podcasting are the creative aspects of it.  Podcasting provides an outlet for…

  • Storytelling around the impact of the research
  • Enhancing trainings for students and professionals. (It is “professional development on demand 24/7″ and a dimension of e-learning.)
  • Marketing programs, projects, and events
  • Creating active learning and encouraging people to ask questions and be curious

In future posts, I will provide resources on how to podcast successfully. I am on my own journey in this area and it is useful to have conversations around best practices and issues of concern.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Social Networking Around Personal Health « PODelation

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