eHealth promotion and social innovation with youth: using social and visual media to engage diverse communities

Stud Health Technol Inform. 2012:172:54-70.


Social media and the multimedia networks that they support provide a platform for engaging youth and young adults across diverse contexts in a manner that supports different forms of creative expression. Drawing on more than 15 years of experience using eHealth promotion strategies to youth engagement, the Youth Voices Research Group (YVRG) and its partners have created novel opportunities for young people to explore health topics ranging from tobacco use, food security, mental health, to navigation of health services. Through applying systems and design thinking, the YVRG approach to engaging youth will be presented using examples from its research and practice that combine social organizing with arts-informed methods for creative expression using information technology. This presentation focuses on the way in which the YVRG has introduced interactive blogging, photographic elicitation, and video documentaries, alongside real-world social action projects, to promote youth health and to assist in research and evaluation. Opportunities and barriers including literacy and access to technology are discussed and presented along with emerging areas of research including more effective use of smartphones and social networking platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube in health promotion and public health.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Health Promotion / methods*
  • Health Promotion / organization & administration
  • Humans
  • Internet*
  • Multimedia*
  • Residence Characteristics*
  • Social Media*
  • Young Adult