36369 The Exchange Lab: A Resource for Tobacco Control Information

Tracy Galloway, MPH, Office of Health Communication and Education, FDA/Center for Tobacco Products, Silver Spring, MD

Background:  To help make tobacco-related death and disease a part of America’s past, not its future, FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products (CTP) is committed to educating the public—especially young people—about the harms of tobacco products, keeping tobacco products out of the hands of America’s youth, and dramatically reducing the appeal of these deadly products. To that end, CTP has developed youth-focused education campaigns to prevent young people who are open to smoking from trying it and to reduce the number of youth who move from experimenting with tobacco to regular use.

Program background:  In support of the White House and HHS’ open government and innovation initiatives, CTP collaborated with CDC and HHS to create a content syndication platform called the Exchange Lab to share public education materials. The Exchange Lab empowers national and local partners and the interested public to expand the reach of FDA tobacco public education, regulatory and research information to priority populations. The platform provides CTP with the opportunity to extensively amplify vetted, scientifically-based tobacco content. The Exchange Lab is a free and easy way for partners to include FDA's public health and regulatory content on their website. It utilizes a syndication technology which ensures that content is automatically pushed out to other sites as it is updated. Once content syndicated code is placed on a partner site, it will automatically update whenever the original content is changed by FDA.    The Exchange Lab eliminates user concerns about the amount of work needed to re-use FDA’s high quality, public education tobacco content, and it offers a communication mechanism to provide feedback so that we can continue to update the site based on their evolving needs. Currently in use by several federal, state, local and nonprofit public health partners - the Exchange Lab has already proven a useful and powerful tool.

Evaluation Methods and Results: 

The Exchange Lab, developed based on stakeholder research and learnings from pilot projects, provides CTP with the opportunity to track, monitor, and engage with tobacco control stakeholders and to maintain better control of content.  Its content use will be monitored through partner outreach, metrics tools and usage checks on a weekly basis.  Periodic monitoring will provide CTP with detailed information about how and where CTP content is being used, which will provide additional opportunities for ongoing content refinement, partner collaboration and the sharing of best practices.

Conclusions:  The Exchange Lab platform makes it easy for the nation’s tobacco control community to access and use scientifically-based, public education content on their sites. It also gives FDA’s CTP more control over its content on the Web, and it is a tool to more extensively market tobacco control content to partners.

Implications for research and/or practice:  The Exchange Lab will benefit tobacco control by:

  • Providing a centralized repository for resource-strapped public health partners
  • Increasing the reach and impact of FDA’s public education materials
  • Reducing costs and increasing effectiveness by enabling FDA to create content once and share it broadly