Fostering Public Participation, Not Just Reception

It is a common misconception that the responsibility for the wellbeing of our community lies entirely on public health professionals. As part of the common public, we often demand improvements in healthcare policies, resources and information in the mindset of a recipient. It is this one-way, “receiving” mentality that often hinders maximum efficiency of public health campaigns. Often, the public health campaigns will need the general public to contribute toward the projects, examples of which include blood drives, demanding blood donors, and disease prevention, calling for the public’s change in practice. Not only that, there can be many regional and racial limitations imposed through certain ways of delivering the need for participation. Such limitations arise from the context in which the information is presented as well as the accessibility of the medium. In other words, it is crucial to implement the need for active participation and a culture that creates a “dialogue” in needs of public health throughout all the different subsets of the population in order to achieve maximum campaign efficiency.

By targeting the managers of public health campaigns, we strive to shift the atmosphere of public health from a one-way delivery of information for a small subset of the population toward a widespread dialogue between the people and the public health officials. We will ultimately address the fact that calling forth action from a larger population in a nondiscriminatory manner will maximize public health campaign efficacy.

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Current range of KUHF radio transmittance (https://www.houstonpublicmedia.org/news887/ways-to-listen/)

To do so, our project will evaluate the efficacy of Passing in Review’s instigation of public participation for MD Anderson’s newly opened Blood Bank. Aired on KPRC radio in Houston, 1946, Passing in Review can be taken as an example of an attempt to increase public participation in public health issues. In particular, we will be analyzing the broadcast on two levels: we will firstly dissect how the need for blood donors was presented and secondly investigate the accessibility of the broadcast by different racial, socioeconomic and gender groups. For example, Passing in Review presented blood donation as painless and easily do-able through interviews with experienced donors. It also specifically called for women participants, specifying the similarities and differences in male and female donors. Doing so expands the target audience of the campaign from just males to both males and females. However, the intrinsic nature of 1940’s radiobroadcast spoken in English limits the audience to Houston’s wealthy, English-speaking population that owned radios, and did not have work late on Friday nights. This is a possible critique for Passing in Review’s campaigning efficiency. As such, analyzing the positive and negative aspects of the broadcast in expanding the population for blood donors will ultimately help us to pinpoint out what needs to be improved in regards to widening the range of participants.

Our project, keeping in mind that our audience is public health campaign managers, will take the form of a formal presentation, proposing what needs to be improved in the delivery of campaigns. We will also have websites and pamphlets ready to give out to these officials to further enhance accessibility to our guidelines on how to increase public participation. To effectively do so, we will research how accessible the Passing in Review broadcast was towards the different ethnic and socioeconomic groups and its resulting change in blood donation participants. This information can possibly be found through other archival records on increase in blood donors. We will pay special attention to what groups of individuals decided to donate their blood (we predict the majority to be of upper-class, Caucasian males). We will also research the campaigning methods utilized by current blood drives to point out what aspect of it, specifically, can be ineffective in reaching a broader audience, and how it can be improved. Such information can be found through public health campaigns found in various forms themselves including websites, pamphlets and radio broadcasts.

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2 thoughts on “Fostering Public Participation, Not Just Reception

  1. I think that your project brings up an interesting aspect of medicine and health care. Prior to reading this, I had never quite thought of health care as being one-way. Indeed, I hardly ever thought about health care as a recipient-focused relationship, or the prospect of the recipient becoming a giver. I also think it’s interesting that you focused on the reach of the original blood drive campaign. How do you think contrasting the blood drive campaigns from your archival research with current blood drive campaign methods will enrich your project and aim? Also, do you think our blood drive campaigns now are reaching the same or different populations than they did in your archive?

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  2. I found your proposal to be very intriguing, especially when placed in the context of the Blood Bank donations. I liked how you talked about public health campaigns being a “dialogue” rather than just a one-way transfer of information to the public. This made me think of Florence Nightingale’s “Notes on Nursing”, in which she calls for everyday citizens to be more cognizant of and involved in their health rather than just placing the the burden of “well-being” on healthcare professionals. Medical knowledge is often widely accessible and can be acted upon without the constant intervention of public health professionals, which is a point you touch upon in your proposal. However, I understand how this dialogue between patients and healthcare professionals can be limited when certain groups of particular socioeconomic status do not receive access to this information. I think your project has a great motive, thus, in trying to inform public health professionals about increasing the target audience of their campaigns, which can thus lead to a reduction of health inequities.

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