Category Archives: Health education

Sep 4 2013

Do You Speak Affordable Care Act?


A recent survey by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) found that more than half of about 1,000 American adults polled could not correctly define common health insurance financial terms such as premium, deductible or copay. That’s concerning considering that opening day to sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act is October 1. “Half of Americans would fail health insurance 101,” said Ernie Almonte, CPA, chair of the Institute’s National CPA Financial Literacy Commission. “That’s critical insight as consumers prepare to make important decisions with implications for both their physical and fiscal well-being,” says Almonte. “Americans need to take time in the coming weeks to familiarize themselves with key terms and assess their needs so they make the best decisions for their health and financial situations.”

Knowing what the terms mean can help people make informed choices when they sign up for health insurance. For example, a copay is the out of pocket cost to a patient for a health service. Choosing a plan with lower co-pays can help individuals save money, according to the Institute.

The survey found that people with high school diplomas or less education were significantly more likely than those with a college education to be unable to define financial health terms. The survey also found that 41 percent of  responders said they were not at all knowledgeable about the Affordable Care Act; just under half of responders said they thought they were somewhat knowledgeable.

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Aug 20 2013

Public Health Campaign of the Month: Who's Next?

NewPublicHealth is looking to highlight some of new and captivating public health education and outreach campaigns through our Public Health Campaign of the Month series. Have you worked with a successful and innovative campaign to help spread awareness of public health issues and engage your community in healthier behaviors? We want to recognize the great effort put into those campaigns and the positive work they are doing, so nominate them!

Campaigns could include videos, public service announcements in print or in video, websites, infographics, social media efforts, or other ways to spread the word about a particular public health issue.

To submit a campaign to be considered for the Public Health Campaign of the Month please send the following items to

  • Name of the Campaign
  • Location
  • Website
  • Related image
  • What public health issue does it address, and what's the scope of the problem?
  • What methods are being used to address the issue?
  • What results have you seen thus far? Is it catching a lot of attention?
  • Contact information

Complete submissions will then be evaluated based on innovation, the ability for the campaign to be replicated in other areas, its potential for impact on the community. If your campaign is selected to be featured as an upcoming Public Health Campaign of the Month, we will contact you with any further questions.

>>Don’t forget to check back to see the latest innovative public health campaigns at NewPublicHealth!

Jul 24 2013

Delayed at Dallas Fort Worth Airport? Learn to Save a Life

file CPR training kiosk, part of an American Heart Association pilot project

Passengers at the Dallas Fort Worth Airport in Texas can now go from “killing time” to “savings lives” while they wait for their flights.

Since last month, a new, innovative kiosk not much bigger than an ATM machine and installed at the American Airlines terminal, lets travelers stop and learn the basics of CPR in just minutes using a chest model and an audio instructor. The CPR pilot project, which will be tested for six months, is a joint effort of the American Heart Association (AHA) and American Airlines, part of a plan by the AHA to train millions more lay people to perform CPR, and potentially saves tens of thousands of lives.  

Now, a few minutes at the kiosk won’t get most bystanders up to the level of paramedics, but “any chest compression is better than none and can increase survival,” says Ahamed Idris, MD, a spokesman for the AHA and professor of Surgery and Internal Medicine at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. Dr. Idris helped develop the kiosk.

According to AHA, about 360,000 U.S. adults suffer cardiac arrest outside of hospitals each year, but only about 10 percent survive. Vastly increasing the number of citizens who can call for help and then start CPR on a victim could more than double that survival rate, says Dr. Idris.

Watch an AHA video that teaches the "Rules of Hands-Only CPR," with the cast of the sitcom Rules of Engagement

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Jul 22 2013

Public Health Campaign of the Month: Creative for Good

file R UV Ugly Campaign

>>NewPublicHealth is kicking off a new series to highlight some of the best public health education and outreach campaigns every month. Submit your ideas for Public Health Campaign of the Month to

Why limit your good ideas for improving population health to just one country when all the world can be your stage—to share and learn?

That’s the thinking behind Creative for Good, a new website developed by the Ad Council, a non-profit developer of public service advertisements (PSA) in the United States, Ketchum Public Relations and the World Economic Forum. The new site offers more than 60 U.S. and international case studies and well as a primer to help organizations plan and execute their own PSAs. 

Creative for Good grew out of the World Economic Forum Summit in Dubai two years ago, with the goal of helping countries around the world increase the quantity and effectiveness of social cause marketing.  

PSA examples on the site include:

Either You Drink Or You Drive campaign video from Italy

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May 30 2013

Faces of Public Health: Peggy Conlon, Ad Council

file Peggy Conlon, Ad Council

“We know PSA campaigns can make a big impact; that they can improve people’s lives.”

The Advertising (Ad) Council has just launched a new version of its digital distribution platform, PSA Central, which is geared toward PSA directors and media outlets, but is also valuable for anyone who wants to share the messages including educators and public health practitioners. The site offers easy access to video, print, radio, online, mobile and outdoor media public service advertisements that range from bullying prevention to food safety education.

Public Service Advertisements (PSAs) may actually date back to the civil war when newspapers offered free advertising space to the U.S. government to advertise bonds whose revenues were used to pay for the war effort. These days, PSAs are much more likely to be public safety messages such as a United Kingdom video PSA, downloaded over 2 million times on YouTube, reminding people just why they should buckle up in a car. And more importantly, these efforts are being measured and tracked to show impact on health behavior change and health outcomes, such as the Ad Council’s drunk driving prevention campaign that has encouraged 70 percent of Americans to take action to stop a friend from driving drunk.

Ad Council's iconic Friends Don't Let Friends Drive Drunk campaign

NewPublicHealth recently spoke with Peggy Conlon, president and CEO of the Ad Council, about the public health messages PSAs can convey and how new media has expanded their reach.

NewPublicHealth: How have PSAs evolved over the years?

Peggy Conlon: PSAs have evolved quite a bit. The Ad Council is 71 years old and back in the earliest days PSAs were seen in newspapers and heard over the radio. Since then they have been showcased on just about all media platforms. In the 90s we were introduced to the Internet and everything changed forever. The Internet added another new dimension to our ability, in a very tangible and personal way, to engage communities around social issues.

NPH: What are some of the most effective and iconic campaigns in public service advertising?

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May 3 2013

Do you know 911’s cousin, 811?


Did you know that consumers are supposed to call a three-digit number, 811, before starting any digging on residential property? Many would-be diggers don’t, which is why the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) began an 811 public education campaign last month.

PHMSA has good reason for getting the word out. Striking buried lines is a leading cause of pipeline-related death and injury and can lead to service outages in whole neighborhoods. Over the last 20 years, property damage costs were over $500 million nationwide from such strikes.

PHMSA estimated that three out of ten households will begin residential construction or renovation projects this spring. A call to 811, which connects would-be diggers to a local utility’s call center, a few days before planned digging generates a visit from a local representative who will mark the approximate location of nearby underground lines, pipes and cables, so workers can dig safely.

 “We want 811 to become as well-known as 911, because digging without getting your utilities marked is not only dangerous, it can also cut off services to an entire neighborhood and cost you money[in fines],” said PHMSA Administrator Cynthia Quarterman.

Since 811 debuted six years ago, serious pipeline incidents from unsafe digging have decreased by more than 45 percent, according to PHMSA.

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Feb 1 2013

Women, Protect Your Hearts: NewPublicHealth Q&A With Nakela Cook


During American Heart Month in February 2013, the Heart Truth campaign of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) will share stories of women taking action to protect their heart.

Today is National Wear Red Day, an observance established in 2003 by the American Heart Association (AHA) and the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute [of the National Institutes of Health], to encourage women to take preventive actions against heart disease, the number one killer of women in the U.S. Why the focus on women? Until then, and still today, the myth persists than heart disease is a problem strictly for older men.

Successes since the first National Wear Red Day include:

  • 21% fewer women dying from heart disease
  • 23% more women aware that it's their No. 1 health threat
  • Education on gender-specific differences in symptoms and responses to medications and guidelines for prevention and treatment
  • Legislation to help end gender disparities

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May 2 2012

Asthma Awareness

This week in May kicks off the start of Asthma Awareness Month.

According to the National Institutes of Health, asthma impacts 230 million people around the world, and 25 million in the US alone. Studies released today to mark asthma awareness observances include a report that finds that secondhand smoke remains a critical health risk for many children, and that seniors are often under-treated for asthma, putting their health and lives at risk.

There is no way to prevent, or to cure, asthma. Existing treatments focus on preventing or controlling disease symptoms such as wheezing, chest tightness, shortness of breath and coughing. And each year more than half of children and one-third of adults with asthma in the U.S. miss school or work because of the disease. About 17 million people require medical attention because of an asthma episode and more than 3,000 people die of asthma.

There has been progress:

  • In March 2012, NIH and other agencies published a report, Asthma Outcomes in Clinical Research, that for the first time pushes for standardization across asthma clinical studies. The report establishes common measures and data-collection methods that will let researchers compare their results more efficiently and could lead to improvements in care.
  • In August 2011, NIH held a workshop to identify specific factors that may predict a person’s risk of developing asthma during the first 1,000 days of life, including environmental exposures, genetics and events that occur in pregnancy and early infancy. NIH researchers say understanding the early risk factors for asthma may provide an opportunity to prevent asthma before it begins.

Cool Tools:

  • The Environmental Protection Agency has released a mobile app for iPhones and the Android platform which gives location-specific reports on current air quality and air quality forecasts for both ozone and fine particle pollution to help people with asthma plan their day.
  • The American Lung Association has just launched Lungtropolis, an interactive web-based learning game funded by NIH, to help children ages 5-10 control their asthma. Kids become “Asthma Control Agents “as they fight to defeat the “MucusMob.” A recent study found that kids who played the game were better able to manage their asthma than a control group of kids who hadn't tried Lungtropolis.

May 1 2012

Recommended Reading: Parents Central


The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has launched a new website, Parents Central, that will, quite frankly, help save children’s lives. The site offers frequently updated safety information for kids in cars—from the newborn firstborn to the teen homecoming queen—as well as safety guidance for travel of all kinds including bicycling, walking and riding the bus to school.

Last month’s Vital Signs report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides a critical evidence base for parents, and health care professionals, to book mark and follow Parents Central. The April report showed that child injury death rates dropped nearly 30 percent from 2000 to 2009, with a significant part of that decline coming from a 41 percent drop in motor vehicle crash deaths in children over the past decade. Safety measures that have reduced deaths in car crashes include use of child safety seats and booster seats, and more widespread adoption and the strengthening of graduated driver's licensing systems for teenagers.

While you’re on the Parents Central site, NHTSA resources well worth the look include guidance on choosing and installing car seats, the agency’s new campaign to prevent child heatstroke deaths in cars, and tips for staying safe when transporting kids in multi-passenger vans—especially as summer camps and trips start up.

Bonus Reading: Read about Operation Hang Up, an initiative in New York State this past weekend that had police officers aggressively ticketing drivers on their cell phones.