IH Section Communication Survey Results

The results of the IH Communications Surveys are in!  The section’s Communications Committee asked you, the section members, to complete a Survey Monkey questionnaire and provide their thoughts on how the section communicates with you.  The survey was divided into two parts.  Forty-six people responded to the first part, which covered the section’s traditional
communications platforms
(the newsletter, the monthly e-mail and the website);
28 responded to the second part, which focused on the section’s use of new social media (Facebook, LinkedIn, and the IH Blog).

Generally speaking, the respondents read the newsletter (69.6%) and e-mails (80.4%), and they check the website at least occasionally (73.9%).  There were a handful of respondents that did not know that we published these communications, so the section has some work to do to make sure that its members know that these are available.

Unfortunately, use of social media was not as popular as we had hoped.  Of the 28 respondents to this part of the survey, nearly half (42.9%) rarely or never read the blog, and 25% did not know we even had one.  Similarly, very few respondents subscribed to the Facebook page (10.7%) or the LinkedIn group(14.3%).  However, our blog averages 30-40 hits per day (currently around 1,000 visits per month), our Facebook page has 60 subscribers, and our LinkedIn group has 439 members.  Considering these numbers, it seems that there are a lot of non-members plugging into our social media, which is not necessarily a bad thing – but our members should be encouraged to take advantage of them as well!

Considering that our social media platforms are very popular among the online global health community, these should be advertised to the section in general at the Annual Meeting, particularly during the first business meeting when attendance is highest.

We also need to encourage members to contribute to the blog and newsletter.  Several survey respondents mentioned that they would like to read about other members’ programs and want an emphasis on practice, rather than research.
Obviously, people have to WRITE about their programs so that we can read
about them.  This should start with the section leadership, who should be setting the example for the rest of the section.  Another resource could be asking students to write about their practica or recent graduates to summarize
their fellowships.  This is easy enough to do in interview format for the blog (see
https://aphaih.wordpress.com/category/stories-from-the-field/), but those students need to be referred to the blog manager to be interviewed.

IH Website Maintenance

Our regular blog readers may have noticed a recent lull in activity over the past few weeks (e.g. no weekly news updates, fewer articles posted, etc.).  This is because the Communications Committee is currently working on a major overhaul of the IH section website – updating and cleaning up outdated content, eliminating redundancies, making it more navigable and user-friendly, and improving its appearance.

Since the most recent APHA Annual Meeting, the committee has been working with the section leadership to “modernize” the section’s communications – we are trying to move away from the website as the primary platform for section communication and use it instead as a “repository” of general information while using this blog for announcements, updates, and section activities.  You can subscribe to the blog by e-mail or RSS feed to be notified of new postings.  The blog is also streamed directly to the section’s Facebook page and LinkedIn group, so if you use either of these two social media platforms, please feel free to join or subscribe to those.

The goal of this effort is to make section communication more relevant and timely to you, the members – so please feel free to provide feedback!  We are currently conducting a survey on how members utilize the section’s current communication platforms and what changes they would like to see.  The two parts of the survey can be accessed from the following links:
Traditional Communications
Social Media

The Committee is also open to members who would like to contribute to the blog, either by writing a guest post or volunteering with other activities (helping with the newsletter, gathering information for the weekly news round-ups, etc.), so please contact Jessica Keralis, the committee chair, at jmkeralis [at] gmail [dot] com if you are interested.

We appreciate your patience as the website is being updated.  The news round-ups will return in July.