We discussed HIV and AIDS among American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/AN) in our previous post, and talked about what we know and don’t know about AI/AN new media access. This week we want to share additional insights from members of The Native Capacity Building Assistance Providers’ Network, and highlight some examples.
How can new media be used in the response to HIV and AIDS among American Indian and Alaskan Natives?
While issues still exist with respect to internet and mobile access, AI/AN leadership has shown a commitment to using new media as a channel (in addition to traditonal ones like radio) to reach their audiences. “New media played a key role in establishing our first National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day on March 21, 2007,” said Dr. Pamela Thurman, Project Director/Senior Research Scientist at the Commitment to Action for 7th-Generation Awareness & Education: HIV/AIDS Prevention Project . “We were able to reach a very wide tribal audience by electronic means.”
Dana Pierce-Hedge, Executive Director, and Dale Fenner, Media Specialist, of National Native American AIDS Prevention Center (NNAAPC), launched an interactive map that showcases events taking place for National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. They mentioned the need to ”integrate the new media with the old.” They told us, “People still want something tangible. Things like postcards, key-chains, buttons, and posters are still very effective in conveying messages through their simplicity. We can help our audience obtain these materials with the use of various types of new media.”
Gwenda Gorman, Health Promotions Director, and Diana Mitchell, CBA Coordinator, of the Inter Tribal Council of Arizona, Inc. reminded us that with new media tools (as with any communication tool) it is best to start with your audience and their needs. A simple survey can be a good tool to find out your audiences’ needs and how they prefer to receive information.
What new media initiatives geared toward American Indian and Alaskan Natives exist?
- Initiatives geared towards increasing internet access for AI/AN populations include The National Congress of American Indians Digital Divide Task Force and a 2006 Indian Health Service project on Increasing Rural Access to Health Information on the Internet (PDF 1 MB).
- Indian Country Today has new media options, including mobile alerts, RSS feeds, and audio.
- Native Pride Myspace page is a social network profile that connects AI/AN individuals.
- GoodHealthTV’s health video library focuses on raising health literacy.
- Breast Cancer Detective is a game focused on detecting breast cancer.
- IndigMapNetwork is the Twitter site for The Indigenous Mapping Network, a group that connects native communities with mapping tools.
- AI/AN also have a presence on Facebook , Flickr , and YouTube ; Change.gov also used video to address Native Americans.
Are you a consumer of any of the above resources, or others? Are you using a new media tool to reach AI/AN communities with HIV information? Are you working to integrate new media with old? We’d love to hear from you!