Were you taught to share?

Were you taught to share? 4


We propose creating ONE (Open Networked Education) Social Practicum to teach us all how to share together - to measurably improve public health. 


In the Knowledge Economy, information networks are like the new super highways of the industrial economy (Tapscott, 1996) and ‘sharing’ is the new coin of the realm.  Networked patients tell their stories on Sharing Mayo Clinic. The Cleveland Clinic attracts over a million health consumers each month to its Health Hub. And, @SeattleMamaDoc has over 33,000 followers.

But, imagine if the best health information wasn’t trapped in silos. What if it was curated by learners who were taught in ONE place – interprofessionally – to use social media to drive consumer demand toward evidence-based practices?  We propose creating ONE (Open Networked Education) Social Practicum to teach us all how to share together – to measurably improve public health. 


Not sharing causes harm

sleeping pillsMillions with insomnia may be needlessly hooked on pills, in part due to the “Ask your doctor” message. Currently, there’s no way for the rest of us to speak up – together – for what we know works better.

We propose that students in all health professions could train together to write posts or ‘like’ or ‘retweet’ or post favorable comments to others posts that convey evidenced based messages for the public – leveraging ONE co-created and curated Insomnia Hub.

Clinical programs don’t teach how to share

Competent clinicians inform patients about what works and where to find it (Wagner, 1998). Practice websites work well for linking patients to community resources (Prescription for Health). And, the Healthy People Clinical Prevention & Population Health Curriculum Framework recommends that ALL health professions teach how to leverage media – using hands-on, interprofessional training (Allan et al, 2004). But, few do. Increasingly however, professional schools DO outsource training that’s not available in their ‘home’ schools.

Outsourced online practicum

open schoolRather than add Quality Improvement (QI) courses to existing curricula, hundreds of clinical programs require their students to enroll online at the Open School of the IHI. Healthcare learners from all over the world take the Open Practicum in which they practice skills they learn online. This is service-learning. Their hands-on practice (which is their service) – conducting a QI project – improves actual local healthcare delivery.


ONE Social Practicum

Likewise, we propose developing the ONE (Open Networked Education) Social Practicum to train service-learners how to interprofessionally leverage social media to promote health as well as build their online presence and influence. Learners would serve by sharing what they learn in their healthcare programs with the public (e.g., translate journal articles, tell patient success stories, review apps) on health topic Hubs (e.g., insomnia, substance use, chronic pain, obesity).

one practicumStudents in the ONE Social Practicum for Insomnia would learn to (1) post about ‘what works’ and where to find it for insomnia (see sample post – sharing a conference poster), (2) curate and comment on other posts on the Insomnia Hub, (3) share their posts on other social media networks, (4) refer their patients to posts on the Hub, and (5) evaluate their impact.

Using the Jigsaw principle, the Practicum would teach interprofessional digital communication. Sharing knowledge in Jigsaw teams, people of diverse backgrounds have learned to ‘play well together’ (even in healthcare).

Furthermore, the ONE Social Practicum for Public Health could encourage students to use community-engaged scholarship to try to improve community health via public health communication campaigns on topical Hubs and to publish their findings. Health communication capstone projects, for instance, could test messages to boost demand for what works.


ONE intercollegiate competition?

competitionSchools of Public Health could lead intercollegiate competitions to improve community health. They could compete to engage other health programs to leverage the ONE Social Practicum and networked topical Hubs (Fitness, Well-Being, Sleep, etc.) to be the most fit or to have the most well-being campus.

In 2010 – 2011, four George Mason University Communication courses (and Starbucks) began to pilot  March Madness for Total Fitness – ways to develop such a competition.  And, over 40 Directors of Clinical Psychology programs said they’d participate. For sleep, perhaps we could partner with Arianna Huffington and build on the Sleep Revolution College Tour she began in April 2016.

Call to action

Educators … are you preparing your students to be network literate enough to be found or be an influencer in the health information stream that is predicted by Kaiser Permanente’s CEO to be delivered to patients by phone … on-demand?

Are your students prepared to “make social media a standard of care” in health promotion, the stated goal of the Mayo Social Media Health Network?

cdc writing guideIsn’t it time to create the ONE Social Practicum so we can all learn and serve together?  From anywhere, educators could integrate the ONE Social Practicum for hands-on interprofessional training into any course. Learners would serve by promoting health via their own Hub posts and social media. Curators would spotlight the best posts – on open networked topical Hubs. Public Health leaders could blend service learning and community-engaged scholarship to build health communication campaigns. Capstone projects could sustain annual health competitions among communities.

Will you and your students help us promote what works for insomnia? Please share your thoughts below or contact DrCary@mac.com.

Meredith Cary, PsyD has over 20 years experience in academic health centers, is a member of the Mayo Social Media Network, the Institute for Health Improvement I-CAN, Societies for Participatory Medicine, Health Psychology, and Media Psychology and Technology, and is the behavioral sleep consultant to the Sleep Center at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital in Washington DC.  Disclosure: Dr. Cary is a donor of the Neuroscience Knowledge Network – a non-profit social enterprise for open access in knowledge sharing.

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