Join BMSG at APHA 2017

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apha 2017 logoWill you be attending APHA 2017 in Atlanta this November? BMSG is thrilled to be presenting several sessions at the American Public Health Association's annual meeting. We'll be sharing findings and highlights from our recent research, ranging in topic from the intersection of trauma and race on social media to shifting the narrative around incarceration in Northern California.

While our posters and presentations will touch on a wide variety of themes, through all of them we seek to better understand how the media characterize issues affecting the public's health. Two of our sessions will look at how these issues appear on social media – a research area that BMSG has increasingly been exploring.

You can find more details on our sessions below and browse other presentations from our parent organization, the Public Health Institute, at You can also view the full APHA program here. We hope to see you in Atlanta!

BMSG's APHA 2017 sessions

Making the case for investing in community health: A media analysis of efforts to change the discourse around prevention and incarceration in Northern California
Sunday, Nov. 5 at 3:00 p.m.

What does it take to shift the public narrative away from punitive interventions focused on incarceration and, instead, shift the conversation toward policies that support early investment in strong, equitable communities? We conducted a media analysis to explore how four northern California communities are shifting the public discourse in their regions to elevate the concerns of communities of color and make the case for investing in prevention, economic development, and equity.

We partnered with Building Healthy Communities (an initiative of The California Endowment) sites in Salinas, Richmond, Oakland and Sacramento to systematically evaluate how investing in health and prevention versus crime and punishment appeared in English and Spanish-language news outlets before and after the unveiling of narrative change campaigns crafted by the sites.

In this poster session, we will share highlights from our analysis and discuss how our findings could inform and strengthen the work of other groups in California and beyond who are engaged in shifting public narratives from punishment and incarceration to building prevention and health.

Trauma, resilience and #BlackLivesMatter: How do racism and trauma intersect in social media discourse?
Monday, Nov. 6 at 12:30 p.m.

In the current, charged political climate, many practitioners, advocates and other stakeholders argue that addressing childhood trauma should include the impact of structural oppressions, like racism, on the physical and mental health outcomes associated with other types of adverse childhood experiences. Since policymakers, the public and journalists are learning about racism and its impact on communities through social media hashtags like #BlackLivesMatter. Social media offers a window into the current discourse about these complex issues. We examined how the intersections between trauma and racism appear in evolving social media conversations and assessed the implications of this discourse for advocacy and action to prevent childhood trauma.

In this poster session, we will share insights on how themes related to trauma and resilience appear in the #BlackLivesMatter discussion. We will also investigate how race and structural racism appear in Tweets about childhood trauma and adversity. Additionally, we will discuss the opportunities that our work uncovers for researchers, public health practitioners and others who seek to expand the discussion of childhood adversity to include the impact of race and racism and to increase the visibility of childhood trauma in social media spaces.

Pizza is a vegetable?: Findings and lessons learned from news coverage and legislative debates on school food nutrition guidelines in 11 states
Monday, Nov. 6 at 2:30 p.m.

In 2010, the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act (HHFKA), was the first piece of legislation in more than 30 years to include substantial reforms to school nutrition guidelines. In the ensuing five years, those guidelines were subject to opposition from the food industry and its allies, but public health advocates remained committed to improving school food environments. We wanted to know: How did discussions of school food nutrition policies unfold in the news and legislative debates in in the wake of this landmark national policy?

Berkeley Media Studies Group conducted a content analysis of state-level news coverage about school nutrition guidelines from August 2012 to December 2015. Our colleagues at Public Health Advocacy Institute collected and evaluated legislative data from these debates.

In this oral presentation, we will share insights from our research and discuss several lessons and possible strategies for advocates as they continue to communicate about improving school food environments.

Tweets, posts and health claims: A preliminary analysis of social media marketing of infant formula
Tuesday, Nov. 7 at 8:30 a.m.

Infant formula marketers create barriers to successful breastfeeding by spending millions on direct-to-consumer advertising each year. Increasingly, marketers are leveraging an ever-more sophisticated range of digital practices to target parents. However, digital marketing is poorly understood. To begin to address this research gap, we conducted a preliminary analysis of social media marketing, an important aspect of digital advertising of infant formulas.

We captured Tweets, Facebook posts, and sponsored blogs from three major formula producers, including Facebook posts published in spring and summer 2016, and Tweets posted in 2015 and 2016. We also searched Google to find blogs from popular parent bloggers that were sponsored by formula companies during 2015 and 2016.

In this oral presentation, we will discuss our findings, which suggest avenues for additional research to uncover how formula marketers use digital marketing to undermine breastfeeding, with implications for the health of mothers and children.

We'll be sharing highlights from APHA 2017 on our social media channels! Follow our updates @BMSG and on Facebook, and join the conversation by tweeting our sessions using the hashtags #phiAPHA and #APHA2017.

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