Infectious Social Media Campaigns Result in Awards for Canadian Public Health Organizations

(Toronto) – Reaching you with important health messages, faster. That's what public health organizations are doing with social media. Putting a different spin on the word viral, Canada Health Infoway (Infoway) today named the award recipients of its Public Health Social Media Challenge.

The Public Health Social Media Challenge, the latest initiative in the Infoway ImagineNation Challenge series, was designed to support public health organizations in a quest to harness the power of social media to address public health issues and concerns. Teams with the most infectious social media campaigns were eligible to share awards and incentives.

"In today's digital world, there are many ways to deliver a message," said Fraser Ratchford, Group Program Director, Consumer Health and Innovation, Canada Health Infoway. "Supporting innovative ways to communicate important health information to the public is what the Public Health Social Media Challenge was all about, and all teams inspired us with their creativity."

A panel of judges, including communications and public health experts, was tasked to review all of the entries to select their top three choices as well as one campaign they deemed as the most 'innovative.'

While all 29 teams displayed their social media savvy and succeeded in furthering their missions, the outcome of the judging resulted in the following award recipients:

First Place: $30,000 award
Toronto Public Health - condomTO
The condomTO campaign promoted sex positive behaviour and addressed condom fatigue and stigma around condom use.

Second Place: $20,000 award
Sudbury District Health Unit - Childhood Immunization
The Childhood Immunization campaign promoted awareness, exposure and education among parents with respect to childhood immunization.

Third place (Tie): $10,000 award
Canadian Blood Services - GiveBlood Mobile App
The GiveBlood Mobile App campaign increased the number of blood donation appointments booked electronically using the GiveBlood Mobile App – in an effort to increase the amount of blood available for Canadians when they need it.

Third place (Tie): $10,000 award
Parachute - #StopTheClock
The #StopTheClock campaign increased awareness of preventable injuries as a public health burden, and reflected on the social, physical and economic consequences of injuries in the Canadian population.

Judges' Award for Innovation: $10,000 award
Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit - Talk Sex with a Nurse
The Talk Sex with a Nurse campaign met the educational needs of men who have sex with men and encouraged the adoption of safer sex practices.

For quotes from the award winning organizations, click here.

"As the power of social media continues to grow, so too does the power it presents as an important communications tool for health organizations," explained Eve Adams, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health and MP Mississauga-Brampton South. "Seeing public health organizations embrace social media to extend their messages to improve health in Canada is a step in a new direction, and it's my pleasure to extend congratulations to the five award recipients in the ImagineNation Public Health Social Media Challenge."

Teams that entered the Challenge early were invited to take part in one of two interactive Expert Forums hosted by Infoway, where social media, communications and public health professionals provided live feedback on participants' social media programs to help strengthen their campaigns.

Due to popular demand, Infoway also hosted an Expert Q&A Session, which was open to all qualified teams and resulted in the development of a Social Media Tip Sheet.

About the ImagineNation Challenge Series

The Infoway ImagineNation Challenges were unveiled in 2011 with a vision to inspire, provoke, and promote innovation in health and health care in Canada. Although each challenge is different, they all share the same ultimate goal: to improve quality of care and the patient experience using digital health.

In addition to the Public Health Social Media Challenge, the e-Connect Impact Challenge is currently open and runs until March 31, 2015. This Challenge is encouraging health providers to digitally connect with their patients and each other.

Infoway works with leading Canadian health organizations to help shape the Challenges through expert advice, encouraging participation, and promoting the Challenges and the results. These organizations are:

Accreditation Canada
Association of Canadian Academic Healthcare Organizations (ACAHO)
Canadian Dental Association (CDA)
Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement (CFHI)
Canadian Home Care Association (CHCA)
Canadian Institutes of Health Research - Institute of Population and Public Health (CIHR-IPPH)
Canadian Partnership Against Cancer (CPAC)
Canadian Patient Safety Institute (CPSI)
Canadian Public Health Association (CPHA)
Health Action Lobby (HEAL)
Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP Canada)
Patients Canada
Patients for Patient Safety Canada
Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada

About Canada Health Infoway

Infoway helps to improve the health of Canadians by working with partners to accelerate the development, adoption and effective use of digital health across Canada. Through our investments, we help deliver better quality and access to care and more efficient delivery of health services for patients and clinicians. Infoway is an independent, not-for-profit organization funded by the federal government.


For more information:

Karen Schmidt
Director, Corporate/Internal Communications
Canada Health Infoway
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