Is There a Place for Social Media in Public Health?

When I was doing my Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree in Non-Profit Management at the C.W. Post Campus of Long Island University (now LIU-Post), I did a Master’s Thesis project titled Use of Social Media in Healthcare Administration. It was a long and fascinating research project, and when I proposed it (back in 2009), many professionals and academics still questioned the value of social media as a business tool, let alone a tool to improve public health and access to health information. The MPA Thesis Committee at Post had the vision to allow me to make this my research topic – and I am eternally grateful to them for doing so.

I had a wonderful Thesis Mentor, Linda Wenze, MA, MBA, PhD, a true research expert with a generous and soulful approach to teaching.

I had the full support of my employer at the time, Winthrop-University Hospital in Mineola, NY. Senior administration allowed me to devote a good deal of time to my pursuit of knowledge of social media, and ultimately I presented proposals to Administration, then the Board of Directors, and ultimately across the hospital, on the utility of effective use of social media. Together with an amazing Public Affairs staff, we executed the hospital’s first social media campaign, beginning with the very successful inaugural video, Faces of Winthrop.

The Winthrop social media campaign won a FOLIO Award from the Fair Media Council in 2011 for Best Use of Social Media by a Hospital.

Kudos to Karen Senecal, MBA, on her skillful execution of this campaign, many other terrific ideas – and the creativity and drive to keep coming up with new social media projects.

To others who are exploring use of social media in healthcare or other non-profit fields, I am happy to share the insights and information I gathered with you.

Keep it real, keep it fresh, and keep it friendly!

Social Media Thesis

About Wendy L. Goldstein

A career communications professional with a deep interest in communications theory, traditional communication, social media and emerging communications technologies, Wendy L. Goldstein offers public relations, marketing and business communication services through WLG Communication, www.wlgcommunication.com.
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