Effective approaches to public engagement with global health topics

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Background: "Public engagement" in science is a term that covers a broad spectrum of activities undertaken by the scientific community. The precise definitions are constantly evolving to incorporate new means of engagement, facilitated by emerging technologies. Global health research is amenable to community engagement and popularization, but it is difficult to know which strategies work best to attract considerable attention from the public.

Methods: This is a review of the articles and documents that address the question of public engagement with topics in medical sciences, particularly in global health. Semantic searches were conducted using Google Scholar rather than indexed databases due to poor indexing of the topic. More than 1000 titles were screened and 48 articles were retained as most useful. It then moves to a more specific topic of the online public engagement in global health.

Results: The review presents the attempts to define public engagement in science and its general importance, particularly in the field of global health. Examples of the latter include tobacco use, vaccination, and maternal and child health. In reviewing effective approaches to public engagement in global health through online video campaigns, it studies the examples of crowdfunding, USAID's First Public Engagement Campaign, World Health Organization's Social Media Campaigns and the impact of Global Health Media Project.

Conclusions: This review reveals three key gaps in the understanding of determinants of effective online public engagement in global health. The mixed results of traditional mass media campaigns in global health emphasise the calls for more research on message content. A framework for effective message content would help in both raising awareness of key issues and creating behaviour change in the general public. Moreover, it is surprising to find no formal research on what constitutes effective video content in global health. Finally, few studies considered important metrics to track in social media campaigns. There is a clear need to investigate which video features are effective in global health online public engagement. Success will be defined through key video marketing metrics and tracked in order to isolate effective content features.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)01040901
JournalJournal of Global Health
Issue number1
Early online date29 Feb 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 29 Feb 2020

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Global Health/education
  • Health Promotion/methods
  • Humans
  • Internet
  • Mass Media
  • Public Health


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