Background: In an economic climate where public health immunization programs are being eliminated or under-funded, the need for innovative and cost-effective strategies in immunization education and professional training is critical. The efficiencies that can be attained through coordination and collaboration of efforts by health departments with state and local coalitions are vital to sustaining and improving immunization rates for children, adolescents and adults.
Population: Community based coalitions, state and local health departments, public health communicators, public health organizations and professional medical organizations throughout the United States.
Project Description: The National Public Health Information Coalition (NPHIC), in coordination with the California Immunization Coalition (CIC), is developing new media strategies and technologies to build the capacity and communication networks of state and local health departments and coalitions so they can effectively target and customize consistent immunization messages to reach audiences across the lifespan. The project is creating a nationwide “virtual immunization community” of health educators, public health communicators and others who promote immunizations to enable them to exchange and share resources, materials and best practices. An online “Virtual Immunization Symposium,” scheduled to occur in 2011, will be the highlight of activities and feature workshops on topics such as vaccine safety, H1N1 virus, immunizing hard to-reach populations, and immunization program capacity building. Learning labs will enable participants to boost their Web 2.0 skills with training in developing and implementing Web communication tools. In addition, six educational teleconferences will complement the symposium activities. A dedicated Web site will serve as the hub for the many activities and feature chat rooms and a blog.
Results/Lessons Learned: Presenters will provide overview of project, share results of nationwide survey and first workshop conducted in early 2010 and preview upcoming project activities.