“Participation Powers Prevention”: Highlights from CDC’s 3rd National Conference on Health Communication, Marketing, and Media


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CDC's 3rd annual National Conference on Health Communication, Marketing, and Media

Last week Miguel Gomez and I joined 1,000 other public health, social marketing, new media, health education, and health communications leaders at the CDC’s 3rd annual National Conference on Health Communication, Marketing, and Media in Atlanta. We enjoyed having this opportunity to learn from colleagues (new and old), and present on some of our own new media lessons learned, as we did in past years attending this conference. I presented on a panel with some of our CDC colleagues about user-generated content Exit Disclaimer, highlighting some of our experiences from World AIDS Day and National HIV Testing Day, and Miguel gave a presentation about our new media strategy Exit Disclaimer.

The conference’s theme this year was “Participation Powers Prevention” and we heard this theme mentioned throughout the plenary sessions and various panel presentations. Another theme we heard throughout the conference was the importance of developing our messages first — then finding the most appropriate tools to communicate them. The conference’s organizers further highlighted the themes of the conference by sorting presentations into the following tracks: Health Marketing: Nuts, Bolts and Beyond; Health Disparities and Social Determinants of Health; New Frontiers — Trends and Technology; and Partnerships/Collaborations — Synergistic Relationships.

We wanted to bring some of the key messages from the conference to people who couldn’t be there in person, so we used our Flip camera to record interviews with several speakers and participants about their advice for the HIV community. For example, Miguel recorded a video with Susannah Fox Exit Disclaimer from the Pew Internet & American Life Project Exit Disclaimer. We have uploaded this interview to our YouTube channel Exit Disclaimer and embedded it in this blog post. Here is a link to the slides from Susannah’s presentation at the conference, Social Media’s Promise for Public Health Exit Disclaimer.

Some of the many resources mentioned at the conference include:

Question for all of you: what does “participation powers prevention” mean to you? Leave us a comment and let us know.


  1. Great entry — appreciate all of the links.
    To me, “participation powers prevention” means that the more people who are engaged with the cause, the more people who will be spreading the message about prevention. Once they are aware of the facts surrounding the issue, they can no longer ignore them and are more likely to share what they know with friends and family, etc.
    For example, those who learn more about the details surrounding HIV transmission are more likely to promote safer sex/needle use than those who have not been educated about the facts. Engaging more people = increasing prevention.

  2. Ricky Davis/Ricken Flow says:

    Being a big part of the hiv/aids information outreach and support in Second Life, I am so glad that it is being presented in front of a larger audience. I need to start planning for World Aids Day 2009 in Second Life I sure hope participates again this year.

  3. To me–simply–it means, roll up those sleeves and get involved. Nice post Jennie, and it was great seeing the team at the conference.
    As a side, I just watched Miguel’s video on the side about HIV Testing, and again, I just think it’s a wonderful testimony to matching the mission to the media. As a bride to be, I too encourage couples to get tested as a routine part of the checklist to getting married–right next to picking out the party favors. 😉

  4. Thanks so much for linking to my report & slides! I also posted a summary of the conference to
    To me, “participation powers prevention” is an acknowledgment that many consumers/citizens are already ahead of the game in terms of participation in social technologies, but it’s now up to public health leaders to harness that energy toward prevention.
    For example, I heard that in Cynthia Baur’s remarks regarding engagement is the key and is directly related to self-efficacy.

  5. If AIDS is going it be contained and the number of infections reduced than communication of safety precautions and testing, needs to be made via the fashionable forms of interaction. Evidence shows that social media platforms such as facebook and myspace have a reach that maybe traditional marketing educational methods such as newspaper adverts do not. Also in my view, the less vulnerable particular cross-section of society perceives their risk to infection is, the more likely there is to be an increase in HIV infection rates in that social grouping.

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