URhealthstyle.org: Reaching the Massachusetts' MySpace Generation to Promote Comprehensive Health Services, A Joint Partnership between Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) and the Massachusetts Department of Education (MDOE)

Tuesday, March 11, 2008: 4:15 PM
International Ballroom South
Thomas Bertrand, MPH , State Laboratory Institute, Massachusetts Dept. of Health, Jamaica Plain, MA
David S. Novak, MSW , Online Buddies, Inc, Boston, MA
Joy Robinson-Lynch, MA , Massachusetts Department of Education, Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Malden, MA
Karen Schoneman, MA , The Medical Foundation, Boston, MA

In May 2007 URhealthstyle.com was launched. The purpose of this campaign is to educate and refer adolescents to health care services in their area. Put simply, it is intended to be an online “yellow-pages” for urban youth who are seeking health care and/or want health information. We are exclusively listing health care services that are contracted by MDPH and the MDOE, including school-based health centers, STD clinics, family planning clinics, rape crisis services, etc. Material distribution of over 60,000 promo cards, posters, stickers, bags and t-shirts was accomplished through street marketing, mailings, and participation in youth conferences, resulting in over 1,450 new visitors to the site since the site's inception.

To describe development and web usage of URhealthstyle.com, including the number of unique visitors, number of infections researched, question and answers, access to testing and treatment, and referrals.

2007 data from URhealthstyle.com were evaluated and analyzed.

Since the May 2007 launch, over 1,450 unique visitors viewed URhealthstyle.com (an average of 24 visitors per day and approximately 94 pages viewed per day) and approximately 33% (213/600) researched sexual health information (9% STD, 5% HIV). An online survey indicated 75% reporting hearing about the campaign via promotion materials (card, poster, or transit poster).

Creating a sexual health site for high-risk minority youth along with traditional marketing and promotional activities including targeted street marketing may have a positive impact on a community. Approximately 33% of those users sought information on sexual health.

Based on website usage, producing a targeted website for high-risk urban youth proved to be an effective and cost-effective way to provide sexual health information to a hard to reach population. Based on this experience, we are currently developing a website specific to address the unique concerns of high-risk heterosexuals and women.
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