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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

UMass: Community Health Educators Propose Model to Assess Digital Storytelling as Applied Health Intervention

Digital storytelling (DST) has becoming increasingly common as a tool for applied health interventions, with particular relevance for community-engaged research with marginalized populations. With its emphasis on community engagement, shared decision making and planning, and collaborative approach to identifying solutions to address health inequities, health promotion practitioners have found it to be an increasingly valuable and reliable tool.

Although there is a body of research that identifies the use of digital narratives as valuable tools to affect behavioral change, a standard approach to empirically assess the efficacy of DST as a health intervention does not currently exist. Now, in an article appearing in the journal Health Promotion Practice, University of Massachusetts-Amherst School of Public Health and Health Sciences doctoral candidate Ms. Alice Fiddian-Green and colleagues are proposing a new conceptual model to remedy that situation.

The authors’ proposed model draws from narrative, social cognitive and other theoretical frameworks, which they hope can serve as a guide for public health practitioners and researchers interested in empirically assessing the potential benefits of DST as an applied health intervention.

“The use of digital media is increasingly relevant to the field of community health education,” says Ms. Fiddian-Green. “We set forth to define digital storytelling as a distinct health intervention with a specific methodology, and to provide a specific road map for practitioners and researchers to gather evidence on the socioemotional impacts of DST as a health intervention. My hope is that application of this model will produce data that compliments existing anecdotal reports that show DST as a valuable tool to promote social connection and positive health.”