Social marketing was included among the 10-year national health objectives for the US that were announced yesterday by the Department of Health and Human Services. For over two years, I’ve been involved in the Health Communication and Health Information Technology workgroup that was charged with developing national objectives in this topic area. In an open and transparent fashion, we sought the input and advice of many professionals in the field (you can catch up on some of these conversations at my Healthy People 2020 archive). As you might expect, dozens of suggestions for objectives were received through the public comment period and in a number of teleconferences. And I must single out Robert Marshall of the Rhode Island Department of Health who was instrumental in soliciting letters of support for our proposed social marketing objectives from a number of major public health and health promotion organizations. After being vetted using a number of criteria, 13 health communication and health IT objectives were submitted to the Department of Health and Human Services for final review and approval. The social marketing objectives are:
HC/HIT-13: (Developmental) Increase social marketing in health promotion and disease prevention.
HC/HIT–13.1 Increase the proportion of State health departments that report using social marketing in health promotion and disease prevention programs.
HC/HIT–13.2 Increase the proportion of schools of public health and accredited master of public health (MPH) programs that offer one or more courses in social marketing.).
HC/HIT–13.3 Increase the proportion of schools of public health and accredited MPH programs that offer workforce development activities in social marketing for public health practitioners.
The final hurdle for an objective to be included in Healthy People 2020 was the requirement of having a national monitoring and reporting system proposed or in place to track progress towards each objective over the next decade. As we scrambled to meet this requirement, I have to thank the National Public Health Information Coalition who are incorporating the monitoring of objective 13.1 into their ongoing national survey of public health information activities and colleagues at the University of South Florida's Florida Prevention Research Center who have taken on the task of monitoring the two social marketing education and training sub-objectives. Without their commitments and support, we would not be where we are today with social marketing becoming part of the national plan for improving the health of all Americans.
Now on to living up to our potential and promise.