Background: From experiential feedback, the CDC Injury Center learned that there was a significant deficit of knowledge of the fundamentals of social media use for injury and violence prevention among prevention professionals. In order to effectively share prevention content and digitally engage with our peers, we realized the need for educational opportunities for our partners and professionals to join the efforts for communicating injury and violence prevention online. In partnership with Safe States Alliance, we created a series of educational webinars on social media rationale, getting started, content development, engagement, and metrics and analysis. Through these webinars, we collected feedback on the extent of knowledge in the field and opportunities to maximize our technical assistance to the field of injury and violence prevention online.
Program background: The Safe States Alliance and CDC Injury Center have frequently partnered in efforts providing training and technical assistance to injury and violence prevention professionals. Through a collaborative relationship, we have been able to reach all levels of prevention professionals with variety of scientifically accurate information, provided by experts in the field. Through a collaborative effort, the CDC Injury Center was able to reach and educate hundreds of participants on how to optimize social media for prevention.
Evaluation Methods and Results: From the webinar series’ registrants and attendees, data was collected from registration information and post-webinar feedback surveys. Information on professional experience, age-ranges, and comfort level with the use of social media has been collected, and is being evaluated to understand how to best approach future training and technical assistance needs for injury and violence prevention professionals. We have found that, despite claims of some comfort with using social media, there are many aspects of social media for professional public health and prevention that need to be further developed.
Conclusions: Primarily, we have assessed the need for continued training of public health professionals on how to excel at social media for their own organizations. Because of the high visibility and participation of the webinar series, the CDC Injury Center has received continued requests to present social media best practices at national and local meetings. There is a lack in continuity of understanding on how to best use social media for injury and violence prevention. The biggest issues that we have received feedback on are issues with evaluation and scaling down a full social media program for restrictions on funds and personnel.
Implications for research and/or practice: Providing training, technical support, content, and opportunities for engagement is a continued need for our audiences to be able to grow capacity and engagement potential for injury and violence prevention. This comprehensive format of training, offered live and archived online, can ensure the availability of training materials to all audiences. We will also ensure continued assessment of the training needs of our audiences and partners.