SaludToday: Bridging the Gap on Health Disparities through Social Media

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Where do Latinos go for health information these days?

Latinos are much more likely than whites to use social media and their mobile phones to get health information, and less likely to visit their health provider for health information. This is especially younger Latinos (18-29 years old), those with less than a high school education or some college,  and those making less than $30,000 a year.

Social media is thus a perfect medium to reach the nation’s growing Latino population with healthy lifestyle, disease prevention, and behavior change messaging to counteract the array of obesity, diabetes, and cancer health disparities they suffer.

That’s why the SaludToday social media campaign on Latino health was launched in 2009 by the Institute for Health Promotion Research at UT Health Science Center at San Antonio to disseminate Latino health news, resources, and action-oriented messages across social media platforms heavily used by Latinos, such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram.

Blog / Social Media

Our social media activities start with the SaludToday blog, where we feature Latino-focused news, stories, and events on a variety of health topics, from cancer to healthy lifestyles to demographic trends. The idea is not only to raise awareness of the issues, but provide resources and real-life stories that can help drive personal and community health improvements among Latinos.

We write at least one blog post a day, if not more. People can follow posts via email, RSS readers, and submit their own guest posts.

Our blog posts are then disseminated through our social media channels that reach thousands of people.

Tweetchats and More

In our goal of reaching more Latinos and making health information more accessible, SaludToday launched in September 2014 #SaludTues, a weekly tweetchat at 1 p.m. ET every Tuesday with an interactive discussion on all aspects of Latino health and a culture of health.

#SaludTues tweetchats average 1 million reach and 10 million impressions a week on Twitter. They bring together organizations like Food Corps, USDA, Univision, community leaders like Elianne Ramos, and tech gurus such as Julie Diaz Asper to explore ways to engage Latino health issues, identify solutions, and stimulate change.

From our experience, tweetchats serve as a valuable listening/learning tool, a relationship builder, and a social media impact-enhancer.

Social media does require organizations to adapt quickly to new trends, and SaludToday has experimented and will continue to experiment with other ways to engage Latinos on social media through user-driven sharing contests and competitions, video voting contests, live streaming, and more.

Social media indeed opens the door to an infinite amount of possibilities organizations can communicate and establish relationships with their audience.

Follow us @SaludToday on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram and visit our campaign against Latino childhood Obesity, Salud America!

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©[2015] Latinos in Tech Innovation & Social Media (#LATISM)

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