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.

Artificial Heart: Balancing Ethics, Policy, and Medical Research

Our archive is a collection of newspaper and magazine photographs and articles describing the development and first transplant of the artificial heart by Dr. Denton Cooley. We hope to focus on the aspect of following institutional and governmental rules and regulations in regards to conducting clinical trials and performing experimental procedures.

We have chosen to target our project at students studying public health policy. For example, Rice has a program of studies dedicated to public health management, which can be found here. We believe our archive would benefit these students by providing information about the multifaceted nature of public health policy. We hope our archive can reveal different perspectives on how to balance ethics, policy, and research to provide the most supportive environment for producing advancements in medicine.

Intersection of medicine and law (cambridgemedicine.wordpress.com)

Our project is important because the government and medical institutions play a large role in deciding what types of medical research should be funded and what types of medical research should be discontinued or hindered. Dr. Denton Cooley was able to successfully perform the first artificial heart transplant by disregarding federal regulations and hiding his research from his colleagues at the Baylor College of Medicine. Did his success justify his disregard for protocol? Were his actions ethical from a philosophical perspective? How can the government make policy that ensures ethical practice but does not hinder important medical research that can be used to improve public health practices? These are questions that our archive provides perspective into and can hopefully inspire policy studies majors.

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Medical World News article about Dr. Cooley’s unauthorized transplant (Image taken at McGovern Historical Center)

We chose to present our archive in the form of an informative website because students will be able to have direct access to primary sources taking the form of videos, photographs, and articles. A website is the most accessible for students and allows students to reference the material easily during their studies.

We will need to conduct further research into the atmosphere of government regulation of medical research during the time that Dr. Cooley performed his transplant, by analyzing the material in our archive. We can also research how government regulation either protects public health or hinders medical research today by consulting with medical practitioners and professors and finding journal articles written about the topic. We can research how our archive can fit into the curriculum of policy studies majors by talking to current majors and professors.

 

Texas Women’s History: What Does Diversity Mean to the Medical Field?

Our project is based on materials from Texas Women’s History archive, which includes interviews of women medical practitioners in Texas Medical Center. The two female doctors we have chosen to research more deeply upon are Dr. Lu Ann Aday, an epidemiologist and an expert in health policy born and raised in Texas, and Dr. Ritsu Komaki, a Japanese woman who now works as a radiation oncologist in MD Anderson. We are studying what benefit diversity in ethnicity and background can bring to the medical field, and how access to healthcare in terms of education and treatments varies across national borders.

 

 

Our targeted audiences are admission officers of medical schools, college administrators, and minority undergraduates who want to pursue a medical career. Our research in the benefit minority groups brings to healthcare appeals to our audience in different ways: medical schools need to know the positive impact of having doctors with different backgrounds; college administrators can have more insights in providing more opportunities for underrepresented student groups; the minority pre-med students can have a better understanding of the distinct value in their international perspectives and unique personal experiences and the fact that they can be as competitive and successful as any others in medicine. Moreover, our analysis on Dr. Lu Ann Aday’s research in healthcare access and Dr. Ritsu Komaki’s international background in medicine carries weight because these are the problems that the future doctors need to address, and they are the answer to why we need a diversity of medical personnel. Both medical schools and pre-med students care about the career outlook and how doctors from different backgrounds can contribute.

In order to effectively reach our audience and achieve our goals of informing them the impact of diversity in healthcare, we will build a website which is most accessible to our audience and centralizes all resources and our findings. We will put up a video on the homepage, which features our takeaways from this research project – Ariana and I are planning on entering the healthcare field, and we both fit the bill of minorities in this industry: she is Hispanic and I’m an international student. We will basically summarize the whole project and talk about how it inspires us, and the visitors can reach the core of this research through the video very quickly. We will also create three different types of flyers that focus on the questions that different audience groups care most about, and lead them to the right location of the website where they can find the answer.

women-in-science-3-e1430588224659To make this project more comprehensive and effective, we will firstly conduct research on how are different genders and ethnic groups represented in the US medical field currently, gathering data such as medical school admission statistics. This will help us better understand the current situation and reach more accurate conclusions. Additionally, we will reach out to Rice administrators and ask about how they see the importance of diversity in STEM subjects or healthcare, and we will conduct a survey on how confident Rice pre-meds feel as a medical school applicant in terms of their gender, ethnicity, and background. Ultimately, our project is aimed to raise awareness of the importance of diversity in medical practitioners and its positive effect on healthcare and to better inform and inspire our audience.