38443 Show Your Love: A Diverse Approach to Preconception Health Messaging & Engagement

Suzanne Woodward, BS, UNC School of Medicine, UNC Center for Maternal and Infant Health, Chapel Hill, NC

Background: Nearly 50% of pregnancies in the US are mistimed, unintended and/or unwanted. Further, the concept that a woman’s health prior to conception is critical to healthy birth outcomes for mothers and babies is not fully understood by young adults, or health providers. Data show that many young adults in the U.S. have behavioral and life style factors that could impact a pregnancy AND their own longer term health. Together this results in poor birth outcomes and health disparities. To catalyze real behavior change, understanding the interests and needs of individuals and communities is essential. A 'one strategy fits all' communications outreach can leave many young adults and communities with information that does not resonate with their culture, language and circumstances. With a commitment to advance preconception in the US, The National Preconception Health and Health Care Initiative (PCHHC) launched Show Your Love Today, the first national consumer preconception campaign which strives to create and continually improve a comprehensive communications strategy that tailors preconception health messaging to young adults of childbearing age at a community level.

Program background: PCHHC created a community grant and an ambassador program. Fourteen organizations nationwide representing minority communities received funding to develop preconception messages and educational materials for men and women. Grantee strategies included digital, social or mobile message campaigns, videos, public service announcements, posters, digital ads, doctor dialogue toolkits, healthy habits checklists, and more. PCHHC’s growing national Show Your Love Ambassador network creates a platform for engagement and an opportunity for young adults to share their health journeys and comfortably engage in their communities. Ambassadors post on their personal social media channels and link to our www.showyourlovetoday.com site, where they can connect with fellow Ambassadors and provide a place for followers to learn more and get involved.

Evaluation Methods and Results: At launch, Show Your Love had over 90 MILLION impressions through various PCHHC’s communications efforts; with continual growth. Messaging is strengthened by engaging with individuals at the community level. We’ll share specific strategies, messages, and images to consider when reaching out to diverse populations and methods to authentically reach and resonate with consumers. We will share case studies that demonstrate how organic social media conversations were leveraged to create foundational partner organizations and keep partners engaged. 

Conclusions: PCHHC is creating a hub for virtual connecting and collaborating in the preconception field. After establishing a national network of organizations and professionals, we’re now getting on-the-ground with our community partners and ambassadors. Join this presentation to hear how PCHHC is setting the precedence for reaching young adults where they are and advancing preconception care and general health behaviors in US communities with our national online consumer website, social media campaign, mobile app, and partner support.

Implications for research and/or practice: Funding is limited, and the future of women’s health and preventative care is uncertain. We will discuss best practices to keep campaign stakeholders and audiences engaged and solutions-oriented. We’ll share the challenges encountered, including stigmas associated with preconception health, message sensitives and needs for specific populations, and considerations when communicating to health professionals as well as consumers.