What Is YOUR Story?


I want to ask you to take a moment and think about why you decided to pursue a career in public health and dedicated yourself to serving, helping, and empowering people. We all have a story to tell, and reflecting back, our stories are what have got us to where we are in our professional as well as personal lives.


People talkingStory telling is one of the most basic means for connecting to one another, so why not apply the same logic to public health and the causes we are passionate about?

First decide what is the goal of your story? What are you trying to achieve? Do you want to raise awareness? Are you trying to get more people involved in your cause? Are you simply trying to raise money for a cause or event? Whatever the goal, make sure to focus on that.

Instead of writing your story, make a simple video to use audio, pictures, and animations. All these makes it that much more effective!

Here is an example of video from SDWR non-profit organization that trains service dogs and one of its beneficiaries story:


Make it short! No need for making a documentary! Even better, make it shorter than 3 minutes while getting your point across as recommended by Anthony Veneziale. People nowadays have an attention span of a goldfish!

Here is a 43 seconds video released by a Swiss nonprofit organization to reveal the far-reaching effects of domestic abuse:

Now that you have seen a few examples and experienced the power of storytelling, it’s time for us in public health to adapt to this method to better connect with our audience. As though it is simpler for some versus others, there are ways to make an exquisite video.

Shooting Video Basics


Here is how:


Ask if anyone in your organization knows and/or would like to join you. You might be surprised that some folks are already way ahead of you when it comes to social media and storytelling!

Thanks to accessibility of smartphone and tablets, you probably already have the equipment to make a video and you don’t know it. The editing software might be the one that is the most costly. If you are like me an “apple” person, you will find iMovie extremely useful.

Once you have the video, post it on your website, Facebook page, blog about it, tweet it, make it go viral within your community. Keep in mind that despite the efforts you might put in to make the video, it probably won’t be viewed by all and make it to Hollywood…. but that is O.K.

The last but the most important part of making a video and sharing your stories is to not get hung up on the process and the mistakes you will make a long the way. At the end of the day, shooting a video should be more fun than a burden.

Give it a try!



4 thoughts on “What Is YOUR Story?

  1. Hi Sarah,

    I really like the opening of your post. I agree – story is the heart and soul of our everyday life; who we have become oftentimes is the result of a series of stories in our lives. Taking videos and photos are great ways to capture our life stories, and sharing these stories through multimedia/social media will reach out to large numbers of people. This is what public health is all about.

    Very nice incorporating of videos. Also, the pictures you chose really shows the themes of your post! Very nice job!


  2. Hi Sarah,
    Your post has a very nice flow with a catchy start. You got me thinking about my story and why I decided to have a career in public health. Making a health message more personal can have a greater impact on that person’s life. For non profits is very important for them to share how their services are being offered and the stories of the people receiving the benefits. The first video you present on your post is an example of this.

  3. Nice post Sarah. I liked the perspective you took on the multimedia sharing material emphasizing the storytelling aspect of it. I think that important and sometimes can be lost in public health messaging. Everyone likes a good story! You referenced the week’s materials well and I like the tips that you chose to emphasize, like keeping it short and reminding people that they probably already have the equipment they need to produce a short video. For me, one of the major take home messages from this class was that when forced into a situation where you just have to make a movie or film an interview, while you may not necessarily hit the jackpot of an Oscar winning short – it is surprising how you can really produce something not bad. I think its this fear of reaching some sort of polished and perfect final product that inhibits a lot of us from experimenting with this medium in our public health work. I also liked your emphasis on keeping it a fun activity and recruiting colleagues to the project.

    The visual design of the post is great, starting with the two eye catching images and a nice contrast in the two video posts. The domestic violence one was so shocking, I mean in a good way. It very simply got its message across with such force. A great example of use of video to amplify the content of the message.

    One or two suggestions. I find it helps me in reading a post if some of the keywords or phrases are bolded. Can be useful for someone who is actually scanning your post rather than reading it initially. Also some sort of listing, numbering or bullet points for your take home tips for video production at the end would round it off nicely.

    Give it a try is a great sign off. I agree with the sentiment!

    Well done.

  4. Hey Sarah! I love your post; I think that storytelling is an effective way to pull an audience in. Stories make your cause/goal more real and relatable to the audience. The first video on SDWR could have simple had an employee describing what the organization does. But the story of an actual client compels the viewer to feel something deeper and want to support the organization. The layout of the post is nice and the visuals were appropriate. The only thing missing would be a featured image. Good job!

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