Your Tax $ At Work: Innovation In Social Media By Health and Human Services


The Questions: What would you do if you were charged with developing a national healthcare policy that could impact millions of people? How would you involve citizens, the healthcare community and other stakeholders to ensure that their ideas and questions were heard and discussed?  That was the challenge facing the Health and Human Services Department as it prepared for an important Leadership Forum on pandemic preparedness.

The Solution: The Health and Human Services Department stepped into the world of Computerdoc social media and invited 16 business, healthcare, faith-based and community leaders to particiapte in a five-week Blog Summit. The blog summit provides an opportunity to have an open conversation and shape the thinking about how to communicate the critical need for preparedness at home and within workplaces and communities.

Each week the Pandemic Leadership Blog will address a different question, the Leadership  Forum will be live blogged and follow-up conversations to discuss lessons learned and next steps will be continued on the blog.

Sidebar: I call this a short-term campaign blog. It has a specific purpose and limited time period when blogging activity will occur.

Week 1: The Need to Prepare
Why is it critical for each of us to prepare for the threat of pandemic influenza?

Week 2: My Role as a Leader
What are my constituents concerns? How can I play an important role in communicating the need to prepare?

Week 3: Getting the Job Done
What do I need to succeed in communicating the importance of preparing for a pandemic?

June 13th - Leadership Forum
Live blogging from the Leadership Forum

Week 4: Forum Results
Report out from the Leadership Forum

Week 5: Making it Happen
What steps do we need to take to successfully move forward?

“The conversation about individual preparedness for pandemic flu must extend nationwide through all possible channels, including social media and the Internet. The blog summit is an innovative and efficient forum for bringing together leaders for a lively discussion on the pandemic-preparedness movement."" HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt

I was delighted to see Nedra Klein Weinreich among the prestigious experts. Nedra brings a wealth of social marketing and social media marketing experience to the conversation. Her first post addresses both topics and ask critical questions including how to best use social media in times of a public healthcare crisis.

  • What are some of the methods we can use to reach each of the audiences with our messages? (e.g., online social networks, blogs, Oprah, school district newsletters)
  • Who are the spokespeople that are seen as most credible by each audience? (e.g., local officials, doctors, peers)
  • Who are the partners that we need to hook up with in order to best reach each audience? (e.g., doctors, “mommy bloggers,” media organizations)

Sidebar: Can bloggers make a difference? Read the story of how 2 mommy bloggers used their blog to help Katrina people.

Check out the How The Blog Works page for ideas if your readers are not blog savvy. There is also a Comment Policy page.
Sidebar: HHS an RSS feed unique to each blogger would be nice.

Bravo and congrats to the Health and Human Services Department .. or should I say Pink_boa" toss of a pink boa?" .. for its innovation and courage. If a government agency can step out of its comfort zone and explore avenues to engage and leverage conversations online think of what a Big Brand or medical center, or non profit or school or business or .. or .. or .. As the saying goes, you are limited by only your imagination and a little bit of chutzpah.

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Great application of blogging and social media.

Posted by: Marianne Richmond on May 29, 2007 9:01:13 AM


The concept is a good one, and it should lead to a good report. Unfortunately, the Health and Human Services Department is better at delivering reports than creating systems that work. That is the skeptic in me (and the Libertarian). I'll believe a health care system that is government-created, cost-effective, and good at serving needs when I see it.

Posted by: Lewis Green on May 29, 2007 3:10:34 PM

We the people will now have a voice that can be heard by thousands from the comfort of our homes and offices. You don't have to be rich or have special equipment, the library has a computer available free for you to make your comments. Everyone is invited to post their comments, questions, ideas, ??? The thousands of readers will see what you have to say about an impending Pandemic Flu and how all of us should be preparing.

Posted by: Mary Ann Epperson on May 29, 2007 4:19:47 PM

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