Exploring the effectiveness of public education campaigns was the topic of a recent forum held by the Kaiser Family Foundation. The questions to be addressed looked promising:
Is this likely to be an effective approach?
What can we realistically expect campaigns like this to accomplish?
What can we learn from past campaigns to make these new efforts as effective as they can be?
And how should we judge success, particularly when it comes to taxpayer-funded campaigns, but also for all of us, how do we judge success?
Unfortunately, neither the presentations nor the Q&A session really dug into these issues. Nor does it seem that many participants were aware of the outcomes literature in this area and the many lessons learned over the years on how to conduct and evaluate large-scale public education programs. [See for example link, link, link and link.] Yet, for practitioners and researchers looking for evidence of the effectiveness of social marketing and health communication approaches to change health behaviors, this forum featured three more great exemplars.
The speakers included:
Donna Vallone, associate vice president for research, American Legacy Foundation who spoke on the evaluation of the truth anti-tobacco social marketing campaign for 12-17 year-olds.
Marian Huhman, evaluation team leader, VERB campaign addressed the evaluation of this social marketing program to increase physical activity program among tweens.
Seth Noar, professor, University of Kentucky presented on a mass media campaign aimed at high sensation-seekers and impulsive decision-makers ages 18-26 to promote safe sex practices.
Links to the forum's transcript, webcast and podcast; speaker slides; and free access published papers (on the truth and VERB campaigns) are available at the Kaiser site.
Technorati Tags: Health Education Campaigns, Health Communication, Kaiser Family Foundation, Mass Media, Physical Activity, Safe Sex, Social Marketing, tobacco use prevention, truth Campaign, VERB Campaign