Dr. Philip Massey, assistant professor in the department of community health and prevention, at Drexel University School of Public Health, was awarded an American Cancer Society Institutional Research Grant (ACS-IRG) from the Kimmel Cancer Center at Thomas Jefferson University to support a project titled “What’s in a Tweet about Cancer Prevention? An analysis of HPV vaccination messages on Twitter”. The purpose of this study, which was awarded one year of seed funding, is to examine trends and content of tweets related to HPV vaccination. Examining patterns and shifts in public opinion toward HPV vaccination on Twitter, as well as dissemination patterns, can provide important insights into the current and potential use of Twitter and other social media platforms for future large-scale health communication interventions. Dr. Massey is the principal investigator for this project, with Dr. Amy Leader from Thomas Jefferson University as a co-investigator and Dr. Ann Klassen, associate co-director for population science at the Kimmel Jefferson Cancer Center Consortium and associate dean for research and a professor in the department of community health and prevention at Drexel, as a faculty mentor.
Data from the Pew Research Center indicate that Twitter is a fast-growing platform among the youth population, with use rates increasing from 12 percent in 2011 to 26 percent in 2012. Given the priority population for HPV vaccination uptake, examining current and potential roles of new media, and mobile technologies is imperative.
According to Dr. Massey, “This research will contribute to a growing body of evidence and methodologies that utilize new media platforms and mobile technologies to incite healthful behaviors and lead to effective interventions in the field of cancer prevention and control.”