New York State Department of Health: Breaking Ground in New Media Response to HIV and STIs

By Michelle Samplin-Salgado, New Media Strategist, and Michele Clark, Managing Director

AIDS Institute Department of Health Social Media Forum staff (L to R): Sonja Noring, Howard Lavigne, Dr. Cheryl Smith, Mark Hammer, Johanne Morne, Wanda Jones-Robinson, Peter Laqueur, Humberto Cruz (AIDS Institute Director), Ben Wise, Jeffrey Karaban, Dr. Bruce Agins.

Earlier this month, we participated in the New York State Department of Health AIDS Institute's forum, Social Media: Going Viral Against HIV and STIs Exit Disclaimer. The room was filled with nearly 300 public health colleagues from across New York who were there to learn and share how they use social media in response to HIV.

The day started with a welcome by two of the AIDS Institute leaders pioneering social media responses to HIV, Dr. Cheryl Smith, Associate Medical Director and Humberto Cruz, Director. New York State Department of Health (NYS DOH) Commissioner, Dr. Richard Daines, then highlighted the importance of reaching people through new media platforms. Using the flu epidemic as an example, he shared the NYS DOH's flu prevention campaign example where a video was developed Exit Disclaimer, and viewers were encouraged to share the message through their social networking sites.

Miguel Gomez, Director of, moderated a morning session about transforming health communication. Lee Aase, Manager of The Mayo Clinic's Center for Social Media Exit Disclaimer and Social Media University, Global (SMUG) Exit Disclaimer entertained the crowd with examples of how new media tools enable patients to connect and share their stories and experiences at the Mayo Clinic. Susannah Fox Exit Disclaimer from the Pew Internet & American Life Project Exit Disclaimer presented findings about social media and health information seeking. She also wrote a nice recap blog post about the conference Exit Disclaimer.

We also heard from Lily Williamson of MTV Networks, about MTV's campaign, A Thin Line Exit Disclaimer, that aims to understand and address safety and security online. And Christine Quinn of the New York City Council presented on the I Talk Because Exit Disclaimer campaign. Eight programs highlighted their hands-on new media and HIV or STI programs in the city, ranging from HIV testing campaigns among youth to audio podcasts to educate New York police about needle and syringe laws and safety.

Afternoon sessions allowed for more in-depth dialogue about social networking: blogs and microblogs, multimedia filesharing, and mobile applications with short presentations by programs across the country. In the closing session, "Implementing a Social Media Campaign", Bradley Jobling, Social Media Manager for the Columbia University Medical Center Department of Surgery Exit Disclaimer, shared his experience using social media to increase attendance at events and online fundraising. Diane Brodalski, contractor at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), summarized the contents of the new Health Communicator's Social Media Toolkit [PDF 3.76MB], and underscored the importance of organizations developing a strategy before selecting the new media tool. Rachel Kachur from the CDC, showed the audience how the multimedia Get Yourself Tested (GYT) Exit Disclaimer STD campaign used available analytics and STD clinic testing data to evaluate their efforts.

We left the conference inspired by program examples in New York and beyond, and with several resources to draw upon--from panelists, to conference participants, to online social media tools to develop or refine organizations' social media strategy in response to HIV. Here is a brief video clip of interviews Exit Disclaimer with three of the many speakers.

You can watch archived webcasts Exit Disclaimer of the conference on their site.