Blog Chronic Disease

Utilizing social media for #publichealth

Written by Jenine Harris, PhD, associate professor at the Brown School

Jenine Harris is a leading expert on utilizing and analyzing social media for public health research. She has led a number of recent projects in this area, including one about a new tool to address the high prevalence and cost of foodborne illness. Dr. Harris investigated how Twitter might be an effective tool for tracking its prevalence and spread in Chicago:

Study looks at how Twitter can be used to address specific health issues

Dr. Harris is currently continuing this work by implementing the Twitter tool in St. Louis with pilot funding from the Washington University in St. Louis Dissemination and Implementation Research Core.

Another study examines how Twitter is used to share information about diabetes risk and management:

Study Analyzes Twitter hashtags associated with diabetes

This analysis of Twitter hashtags on #diabetes offered new insights about health information and social media.

Twitter can be useful tool for public health organizations — but must be carefully monitored

Here Dr. Harris examines Twitter as a source for information—and potential misinformation—about public health topics.

#feeling sick: Can Twitter help better identify foodborne illness cases?

Dr. Harris investigates the use of the hashtag #childhood obesity to analyze Twitter conversations about this pressing public health issue.

Are health departments tweeting to the choir?

In this study, Dr. Harris looked at the followers of local health departments’ social media accounts, to discover whether they are using tools effectively to reach individuals they are trying to serve, as opposed to other organizations.

Local health departments find Twitter effective in spreading diabetes information

Dr. Harris examined the ways that local health departments utilized social media to promote specific health behaviors.

State health departments hit ‘like’ button on use of social media to spread information

This article outlines Dr. Harris’s investigation of the ways public health departments take advantage of Twitter and Facebook as a dissemination tool.