Video Interview and Personal Journey Video

In learning how to shoot a video and other video techniques here are two videos that I recently created. One is a video interview with the Director of Population Health Management. The other video shows how there are influences for health at so many levels.

Any comments/feedback are appreciated.


Does your website speak Spanish?


Why create a Spanish version of your website?

The demand for Spanish online health information is increasing. Hispanic usage of health care websites is growing twice as fast as the general market. In September 2011, a total of 17.2 million Hispanics visited a health related website; this represents 52% of all online Hispanics and an annual growth rate of 31%.

Spanish is the second-most spoken native language throughout the world behind Mandarin. It is also the third-most spoken language in the world. The Hispanic population of the United States is increasing making people of Hispanic origin the nation’s largest ethnic or racial minority.

Hispanic Population

In 2010, largest prevalence of diabetes were among Hispanic compared with prevalence among white, non-Hispanic and Asian adults.  Making information accessible to this population therefore presents a great opportunity for health care providers. Increasing access to health information in their language can help prevent and manage diabetes as well as other health conditions.

Spanish speaking patients not only have a language barrier when communicating their health needs but also have the barrier of accessing health information in their own languageEven when there is information available  sometimes this information is not translated correctly and is not culturally appropriate. 

From my experience as a bilingual health educator and my learnings from Mass Communication in Public Health course here are 3 tips on how you can create a Spanish version of your website and engage your new audience.

  1. Translate information in a way that meets your audience needs: It is very important to identify your key target markets to ensure that the Spanish you are using is appropriate. Spanish language can vary from country to country and culture to culture. Going with a professional translation agency and looking for a native speaker to ensure the language is localized is highly recommended. Recently the American Diabetes Association made the switch from Spain Spanish to a more Universal Spanish form of language.

ADA Spanish

2. Create a website that offers easy to understand health information: Provide access to download PDF files of educational information or insert health education videos. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention is a great example of this.

CDC Spanish Video

CDC Resources

3. Connect with your audience via testimonials or sharing of real life stories: The National Center for Farmworker Health is a great example of how testimonials/stories from the field can help connect your audience. The diffusion of innovations theory  indicates that potential adopters evaluate an innovation on its relative advantage. The perceived health benefits gained by the proposed healthy behaviors relative to current behaviors. Sharing of stories can help this potential adopters evaluate the benefits to a change in lifestyle or adherence to medications.

Stories from the fields

Feeling inspired and wondering how to start a website? The following is a list of low cost vendors free tools on the Web today that offer do-it-yourself technology to help you build your first website and/or create multilingual websites: Wix, SquareSpace, GoogleSites, Weebly, WordPress.

The Texas Medical Association placed together a list of Spanish Language Health Sites that provide good examples, click here to view list. This website also provide useful Spanish educational resources.

Texas Medical Association

mHealth -Enhancing access to health information


Mobile phones provide an opportunity to access populations that are hard to reach and deliver health promotion interventions. mHealth is an abbreviation for mobile health, a term used for the practice of medicine and public health supported by mobile devices. mHealth has a great potential to save lives of millions of people in the developing countries and also help access to many health care services for prevention and management of chronic diseases.

An example of mHealth is the Text4baby program that offers moms 3 free text messages per week throughout their pregnancy and until the baby is one year old. Text messages provide critical health tips timed to where the mom is in her pregnancy.


If you are thinking about implementing a mobile health campaign consider the following.

  1. Selection of group texting tools: Group text messages can be sent from a Web based dashboard offered by the vendor. These are some platform/tools available; ez texting, mobile commons, RapidSMS
  2. The two most critical questions in deciding what type of social media tool to use are: Does the group need to be small or large? Does it need to be short lived or long lived? The number of people involved and duration of interaction are the two basic constraints of group action.

  3. Consider the following: How will participants interact with the system? What medium will the system rely on & why? How will the content of messages be developed & refined in the future? Analyzing the population needs will help to answer these questions and develop effective messages.
  4. Think about how to identify your audience. Understand that different audiences have different experiences and different worries. Know how to tailor your messages to your target audience. Follow this link to obtain tools and resources that can assist in the process of defining a target audience, adapting and localizing messages as well as selecting suitable technology platforms. These  resources provide in-depth information on how organizations have developed and implemented mobile into maternal, newborn and child health (MNCH) programs. Even if your cause is not around the topic of maternal, newborn and child health these documents are still useful to review.

An example of a successful program involving text messaging and diabetes management is the University of Chicago Medicine study. The study conducted a six-month texting study of people diagnosed with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. Educational text messages were sent with daily reminders to check blood sugar as well as nutrition and exercise tips. After six months, patients showed improved glycemic control and an 8.8% reduction in health care costs.


How do I create a video that engages an audience around my cause?


Story based strategy methods provide a framework for social change. Capturing the story of a person or a group of people can help to dwell on important topics. The use of videos can set the stage for  people to begin talking about a topic of concern and brainstorm possible solutions.

Here are 4 things you need to know to augment the power of video storytelling.

  1. Involve your audience. Your message can be perceived as more genuine when you have community leaders presenting the message or the information about the program or call for action. This can help to connect the audience with the presents/speakers of the video. In a non-profit organization it should come from community leaders making the change or interview the people who have benefited from the organization and ask them to share their stories. You also want to keep this question in mind: Whose voices need to be heard? Here is an example of a video that illustrates this concept, ensuring their voices are heard and sharing their story with a call for action.

Fingers to the Bone: Child Farmworkers in the United States

2. Framing the problem. The question of framing the problem is very important when creating the video. Create a standard call to action video that conveys a clear message about your organization.

3. Using other social media tools. Other social media platforms such as Twitter can help increase campaign awareness. The use of hashtags will be important to categorize your message among many users. Sharing your video in platform like Twitter can increase campaign awareness and followers.

The video#ChangeTheMcStory Support the #Fightfor15 is an example of using several social media tools to increase campaign awareness.

4. Upload your video to Youtube. Youtube is a powerful multimedia-sharing platform. About three-in-ten online adults (31%) posted a video to a website in 2013. YouTube is the second-largest social networking site, behind Facebook. For more tips read the Youtube Nonprofit Playbook Guide that offers other best practices to make your videos successful.

Twitter and #publichealth


As an information network Twitter is a tool that can be used to increase health literacy. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, Title V, defines health literacy as the degree to which an individual has the capacity to obtain, communicate, process, and understand basic health information and services to make appropriate health decisions.

Why is health literacy important?

Research indicates that nearly “9 out of 10 adults have difficulty using the everyday health information that is routinely available in health care facilities, retail outlets, media, and communities.Limited health literacy is associated with poorer health outcomes and higher health care costs.”


Twitter information network allows health organizations to provide health education via their tweets. Here is an example of a recent tweet posted by Harvard School of Public Health. 

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UC Berkeley School of Public Health also provides health education that is easy to understand. Here is a recent tweet.

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What do the hashtags mean?

Hashtags allow Twitterers to discuss issues and mark and organizes posts. On Twitter, hashtags appear in the “Trending” section, and people interested in sharing their thoughts can use them to reach out to others. If used strategically and with authenticity hashtags can help organizations increase their number of followers and the tweet re-posts.  Following the hashtag etiquette, less is more, as explained in the book Social Media for Social Good, can avoid being perceived as a hashtag spammer. When using hashtags, it is important to use no more than a single hashtag per post on average. While it is sometimes appropriate to use two hashtags, using three or more is rarely wise. Follow this link for a beginners guide on using hashtags.

Web-based platforms such as Symplur provides hashtag information around the topic of health care. Below is the report they offer for public health hashtags Tweet activity.

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3 social networking tools for meeting like-minded professionals


Ever wanted to meet or network with people that share your same interests but don’t know where to start? Make sure to get connected to the following 3 social media networking tools.

LinkedIn, Meetup and Facebook are social networking tools that provide a platform for like-minded professionals to share information, collaborate and build communities of practice allowing discussion of current topics such as industry latest news, trends and market data.

What are communities of practice?? Communities of practice are a group of people who converse about some shared task or topic in order to get better at it. 1


LinkedIn logo

LinkedIn groups provide a place to share content, find answers and improve dissemination of research. You can either join a group or start your own group. Is very easy to create a LinkedIn account and to join a group. I suggest the following tutorials:

Lynda LinkedIn tutorials:

How to join LinkedIn groups:

For public health professionals I recommend the following groups: Public Health Institute, American Public Health AssociationHealth Communications, Health Literacy and Social Scientists Group.

You can also follow the LinkedIn speaker series in YouTube:

The book Social Media for Social Good2 includes a section on how LinkedIn groups are also great tool to promote non-profits. A best practice for non-profits is to think about a group name that will help build interest and avoid narrowing the scope of conversation.

Facebook groups:


Another platform to share information and learn from other professionals in the field of health is Facebook groups.

In a survey conducted in September 2014, the Pew Research Center finds that Facebook users continue to be very active. Fully 70% of users engage with the site daily. This means is very likely for users to respond to your post, comment or questions in a timely manner.



Looking for ways to be connected with others in your local community? Check out meetup

This networking tool helps you meet people in your local community that share your same interests. I conducted a quick search in my area and found many health related groups. This networking tool is an alternative for those who prefer the face-to-face interaction.


Blog References:

1 Clay Shirky (2008). Here Comes Everybody. Penguin Books, New York.

2 Heather Mansfield (2012). Social Media for Social Good: A How-To Guide for 

Nonprofits. McGraw-Hill, New York.

Health Apps for Weight Management Programs


One of the hardest parts of losing weight is eating healthy. User-friendly weight loss mobile apps can be a great tool to manage eating habits for participants of weight management programs or for individuals wanting to lose weight on their own.

Health apps provide institutions offering disease management or wellness programs an opportunity to improve the program effectiveness at a lower or no cost. The institutional dilemma described by Clay Shirky in his book Here Comes Everybody, occurs because institutions/programs have to expend resources to manage resources. The larger the institution the greater the costs. Certain activities may have some value but not enough to make them worth pursuing in an organized way. For example, a weight management program can leverage the use of existing health apps to track meals instead of developing its own website meal tracking tool which will require more management, time and money.

Existing weight loss apps make it easier for the participant to track meals, health goals and it also helps the health coach/trainer in providing more effective and specific feedback on their nutrition.  It is easier to keep a food diary in your phone than to keep it in on a notebook or piece of paper you are likely to lose. You may not take a pen and journal  to a restaurant but you will always have your phone. Mobile health apps offer an alternative option to keeping a food log for those on-the-go and not wanting to do this process manually. Most of the existing apps don’t require you to be technical savvy to use them and as an added bonus many of them are free.

As a telephonic care manager in a weight management program I found MyFitnessPal app really helped participants keep track of their daily caloric intake. It also had a tremendous impact on their behavior (increase accountability) making them more mindful of the food they were eating knowing the food will be logged and they had to share it with me. Sharing information from these apps is very easy as majority of the apps allow the user to e-mail progress reports.

I am promoting the use of these apps with participants having chronic conditions especially those with diabetes. The following is a list of popular apps for wellness or disease management programs to inform participants on or to adapt as part of their program requirements.  What I really like is that the apps are also available in Spanish and in many other languages.

MyFitnessPal: This app is a top pick of both PC Magazine and Wired.  It incorporates the two weight loss essentials: diet and exercise. Its massive database of more than three million foods lets you track the calories, fat, carbs, and cholesterol. This app has many easy to use features including a calorie counter that adds calories when you select the food items you ate during that day and subtracts calories according to the amount of exercise you input. Users get meal logging reminders and gives daily/weekly/monthly reports on exercise and nutrients.  Furthermore, you can scan the food item and it will save the information for future logs. The app also offers more than 350 cardio and strength training exercises. More information on how to use this app on the iPhone here .

Diet Assistant – Weight Loss: Diet Assistant makes it much easier to watch what you eat. Enter in your target weight and the app will design a meal plan to get you there. It will create a daily menu, along with detailed shopping lists, to make supermarket trips stress- and hassle-free! More information on how to download and use this app: iPhone or Android

Lose It!: Lose It simplifies weight loss by designing a custom plan for you, then tracking your calories and exercise. On the way to weight loss, you can also challenge yourself to achieve other goals, such as sleeping better, trimming body fat, or eating a more nutritious diet. The app is designed so you don’t have to go it alone. Its groups and one-on-one connect features help you get support from friends and fellow dieters in the program.


Clay Shirky (2008). Here Comes Everybody. Penguin Books, New York.