Benchmark – Health Communication Critique
The Internet and new media platforms, such as YouTube, have increasingly been utilized
by local and state public health departments to communicate information and health
messages to large audiences. For this assignment, you will review a series of videos on
YouTube playlists of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
View at least two videos by each of these health departments.
In a paper of 1,250-1,500 words, critique how successfully the public health department has
communicated information and health messages in each video. Include the following in
A description of the health issue that is the focus of the video.
A critique of whether this new media platform was leveraged to its full potential.
An evaluation of whether the communication and health messages were engaging and had
the potential to mobilize the community, including building constituency relations,
engendering strategic partnerships, or engaging community organizations and leaders.
An assessment of the cultural appropriateness of the message with regard to the intended
audience, including how cultural competence is important in communicating public health
An overall judgment on whether the communication and health message was effective for
the intended audience. Include any recommendations or suggestions to improve the health
communication or health message. Use the examples and evidence from the research
literature to support your recommendations.
Incorporate three to five resources to support your critique.
Health Communication Critique
The emergence of social media platforms occurred as a result of two operational words where
the first, social, refers to the interaction between people or communities that share common
interests. The second word entails media which describes a channel, medium, or platform that
facilitates the creation and exchange of content and information generated by different users. As
such, social media networks and platforms have, since inception, facilitated the development and
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build-up of virtual relationships among people of diverse races and in different locations (Oyza
& Edwin, 2015). Consequently, such links have contributed to the provision of opportunities for
people to share their activities, interests, and ultimately create real-life connections. As a plethora
of networks, social media has brought about significant opportunities for organizations to
interact with potential clients. The achievement of this objective has occurred through prompt
communication, especially between health service providers and their patients, thereby serving
as a vital component in public health development.
Nevertheless, the approaches and communication technologies used by different
organizations determine the feedback received the proportion of audience targeted, and
realization of desired objectives (Oyza & Edwin, 2015). Therefore, the essence of this paper
entails a critique of the success in the communication of the public health information by using
the new media platform. These will be coupled with the evaluation of whether the information
outlined is maximally leveraged.
Description of the Health Issue
According to Giustini, Ali, Fraser, & Boulos (2018), patients enjoy using the internet and
social media and networking services as they provide answers to various health problems.
Additionally, these authors indicate that the frequent use of social networks is directly associated
with benefits such as increased awareness and empowerment. These and advantages have
primarily contributed to health professional increasing the social networking initiatives in an
effort to raise awareness about the risk factors associated with certain illnesses and adverse
outcomes related to engagement in a specific behavior. Most fundamentally, social media and
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networking services represent the way people discover, share, and read content, news or
information hence providing users with different forms of empowerment.
As a result, marketers have shifted their attention to social media platforms to raise
visibility and promote their products and services. Similarly, in healthcare, practitioners,
physicians, and organizations have focused on social networking services to achieve goals that
include providing information of different issues, answer questions related to medical problems,
and to initiate dialogue. Moreover, in health care, these platforms have facilitated the collection
of data on patient experiences and opinions and the reduction of stigma related to particular
illnesses (Giustini, Ali, Fraser, & Boulos, 2018). These have been coupled with the use of
networking sites as a medical intervention which plays an integral role in health promotion and
education. It further serves a vital component in healthcare through the provision of a mechanism
for online consultation.
In this case, the New York Department of Health and Mental Hygiene have used a social
media platform, YouTube, to share information and promote health behavior through engaging,
educating, and interacting with the public on the various ways of smoking cessation. As such,
they have used these videos to potentially improve health outcomes, increase personal
awareness, motivate individuals, and provide vital information to the community. For instance,
the videos prepared by the Department of Health in New York urge people to quit smoking by
depicting the adverse effects it has on an individual’s welfare (NYCHealth, 2019). The key
message in the videos entails that smoking leads to suffering and the achievement of the desired
objectives occurs through the use of real-life images and situations indicating individuals and
their loved ones experiencing the adverse effects.
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Similarly, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health has prepared videos
aimed at sensitizing the people on the dangers related to smoking through the provision of tips on
how to quit the habit. Most fundamentally, the different videos provide resources that would
facilitate the achievement the smoking cessation habit. For instance, in the first video, a lady,
Ashley is seen speaking and highlights several steps that people who intend to stop smoking
should follow. The steps highlighted include setting a quit date, informing family and friends,
and using helpful resources within the community by call 1-800-NO-BUTTS (L.A.
QuitsSmoking, 2018). In the second video, Claud urges people to try over-the-counter quit aids
that include patches and gum as they can help with nicotine withdrawal.
Consequently, the videos set forth and prepared by the health department and
professionals in the different locations share similarities in elements such as motivating people,
increasing awareness of discoveries and news, and providing necessary information to the
community. On the one hand, the New York Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, through
the videos on the social network have shared ideas and cases, disseminated important findings,
and engaged in health advocacy (Giustini, Ali, Fraser, & Boulos, 2018). For instance, the videos
highlight three reasons why people should quit smoking through the depiction of cases and
individuals suffering in hospital beds or in their daily lives. The reasons highlighted include the
risk of developing illnesses such as diabetes, colorectal, and lung cancers. On the other hand, the
videos from the Los Angeles County Department of Health focus on marketing healthy practices
and engagement in health advocacy through the depiction of the various ways in which people
may quit smoking (Oyza & Edwin, 2015). As such, the videos and the social media platform, in
general, were leveraged as they further provide necessary information about the resources and
facilities people may use to seek more assistance.
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Evaluation of whether the Communication and Health Messages were engaging and
mobilized the community
Though brief, the information and health messages contained in the videos from both
departments play an integral role in engaging and mobilizing the community through the
depiction of the adverse effects associated with smoking. They further encourage people to quit
smoking by providing the various steps that should be taken and health resources that can be
used to achieve this goal (Ventola, 2014). Similarly, by highlighting the necessary resources
within the community, the health messages and information engender strategic partnerships
between the prospective patients, health care professionals, and organizations. These are
followed closely by ensuring consistency relations and engaging the community, organization
and leaders in striving to achieve a tobacco-free environment (Ventola, 2014). For instance, in
depicting images of decapitation, sore wounds, and people with their loved ones suffering in
hospital beds, the videos play an integral role in highlighting the undesirable outcomes obtained
Assessment of the Cultural Appropriateness of the Message with regard to the intended
In the recent past, most physicians have delved into networking sites and platforms to
communicate directly with their clients in an effort to augment clinical care. The essence of such
efforts is based on the fact that almost all individuals in today’s society is using or subscribes to
social media at least once per day. Therefore, the health messages and information disseminated
on social media platforms need to address the needs of all the people regardless of their cultural,
social, ethnic, or financial background (Oyza & Edwin, 2015). As such, the health messages and
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information highlighted in the videos used in this case are culturally appropriate as they depict
people from different ethnicities, age groups, races, and settings.
Moreover, cultural competence is fundamental in the communication of public health
information as it contributes to the depiction of factors such as the risks associated with the
health habits and behavior of a particular community. It further plays a significant role in the use
of relevant cases or ideas in the depiction of the risk factors, undesirable outcomes, and adverse
effects associated with particular illnesses (Giustini, Ali, Fraser, & Boulos, 2018). This way,
health care professionals use real-life examples of people from a specific community to show the
people that the same could happen to them if they do not cease certain habits or engage in
Overall judgment on the Effectiveness of the Information and Health Messages
I tend to believe that the information and health messages contained in these videos were
sufficient for the intended audience as they warn them against the outcome likely to occur from
such behavior and habits. Additionally, the videos provide insightful information through tips on
the various ways to stop smoking and stay tobacco-free through highlighting steps such as setting
a quit date and informing family and friends. They further incorporate multiple resources within
the community in which the audience may seek additional assistance in their journey to smoking
cessation. Although these elements are fundamental, they do not highlight the most critical
component that includes guidelines and support systems to prevent people from reverting to their
old habits. As such, the videos should have highlighted cases involving different stages and
outcomes associated with the smoking cessation effort. These should have been coupled with
measures that should be taken to prevent relapse, warning signs, and instances when to seek
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medical attention. Despite the fundamental role and benefits associated with these sites and
platforms, pitfalls such as misleading information may hinder the achievement of desired goals.
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Giustini, D. M., Ali, S. M., Fraser, M., & Boulos, M. N. (2018). Effective uses of social media
in public health and medicine: a systematic review of systematic reviews. Online
Journal of Public Health Informatics, 10(2).
L.A. QuitsSmoking. (2018, July 25). Quit Smoking Tip #29 – How to Stop Smoking and Stay
Tobacco Free – Visit Smoke-Free Places.