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Call for papers - Health promotion in the era of social media and digital communication

Guest Editors:
Lorien C. Abroms: George Washington University, USA
William Douglas Evans: George Washington University, USA
Zhe He: Florida State University, USA

Submission Status: Open   |   Submission Deadline: 10 July 2024

This collection by BMC Digital Health examines the impact of social media and digital communication on health promotion. Despite their widespread use by the public, the full potential of utilizing these digital technologies to support health promotion is yet to be realized. The focus here is on the application and impact of social media and digital health on public health education and behavior, covering research topics such as disease monitoring, sharing of public health information, data analytics, the impact of mobile health apps, emerging technologies and ethical considerations. In essence, this collection seeks to bring together some of the latest research that ultimately advances public health education and behavior change.

Meet the Guest Editors

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Lorien C. Abroms: George Washington University, USA

Dr Lorien C. Abroms is a behavioral scientist and professor in the Department of Prevention and Community Health at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health. She also serves as the co-director of GW’s Bright Institute and Public Health & Governance Cluster Lead at GW’s Institute for Data Democracy and Politics. Dr Abroms' career focuses on the intersection of digital communication technologies and health promotion. She has developed and evaluated mobile apps and text messaging programs for smoking cessation, including for special populations such as pregnant women and persons living with HIV, and in several countries such as Vietnam, India and Israel. Her programs have been widely disseminated with Text2Quit offered through US quitlines and SmokefreeMom offered through the US National Cancer Institute’s Her recent research is focused on health promotion on social media, as well as promoting vaccine uptake and countering vaccine misinformation on social media. 

William Douglas Evans: George Washington University, USA                                                                                                                                         
Dr W. Douglas Evans is professor of Prevention and Community Health & Global Health in the Milken Institute School of Public Health at The George Washington University. He directs the GW's Bright Institute and has received multiple grants from the National Institutes of Health and Foundation for design and evaluation of digital health interventions. Specifically, Dr Evans’ work focuses on translating marketing strategies, including health branding and digital technologies, into intervention strategies to promote adoption of health behaviors and avoidance of health risk behaviors, both in the United States and worldwide. He is currently principal investigator of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) grant entitled 'Digital Media for Cancer Control: Randomized Controlled Trial and Dose-Response Effects' that examines digital media exposure and dosage measurement techniques in a series of experimental studies to evaluate the effects of anti-vaping and anti-smoking digital messages on young adult tobacco use behavior.

Zhe He: Florida State University, USA                                                                                                                                                                                             
Dr Zhe He is an associate professor at School of Information, Florida State University. He serves as the Informatics Lead of UF-FSU Clinical and Translational Science Award. His research interests include clinical research informatics, consumer health informatics, knowledge representation, and big data analytics. The overarching goal of his research is to improve population health and advance biomedical research through the collection, analysis, and application of electronic health data from heterogeneous sources. As principal investigator, Dr He has been funded by the National Library of Medicine, the National Institute on Aging, Eli Lilly, Amazon, and NVIDIA.

About the collection

Digital technologies have become ubiquitous throughout much of the world. The digital media landscape, especially social media, shapes people’s awareness of health issues and perceptions about health-related behavioral norms. Additionally, digital health education programs and campaigns can help people reach goals, obtain social support, and change their behavior. 

Yet, despite the widespread use of digital media and social media by the public, the full potential of utilizing digital technologies to support health promotion is yet to be reached. Currently, there is limited integration among the public health, technology, and government sectors. Public health researchers are investigating the impacts and potential of technology, industry is adopting policies and programs aimed at addressing health issues, and governments continue to provide medicine, public health, and social services. All too often, however, these sectors operate in silos and have yet to explore a common agenda regarding the use and evaluation of such technology to advance the goals of health promotion. 

BMC Digital Health is calling for papers for a collection that will focus on the application and impact of social media and digital health on public health education and behavior. Contributions can include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • The role of social media in disease monitoring and outbreak detection 
  • Effectiveness of social media campaigns on disseminating public health information and promoting health behaviors
  • Social media analytics,  including developing data analysis methods to look at social media trends to understand health attitudes and behaviors as well as harnessing big data and machine learning techniques to facilitate public health research and decision-making
  • Assessing the impact of mobile health apps, wearable devices, and telemedicine on public health outcomes
  • Gamification and behavior change theories in digital health interventions
  • The role of online communities and peer support, including how they may impact mental health and wellbeing or facilitate health education and behavior change
  • Emerging technologies and tools to enhance the role of social media and digital health in advancing public health information and behavior change
  • Ethical and legal considerations, including issues around privacy, data security and equitable access

Please email Alison Cuff, the editor for BMC Digital Health( if you would like more information before you submit.

Image credit: Kerkez / Getty Images / iStock (Symbolbild mit Fotomodell)

There are currently no articles in this collection.

Submission Guidelines

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This Collection welcomes submission of original Research Articles. Should you wish to submit a different article type, please read our submission guidelines to confirm that type is accepted by the journal. Articles for this Collection should be submitted via our submission system, Snapp. During the submission process you will be asked whether you are submitting to a Collection, please select "Health promotion in the era of social media and digital communication" from the dropdown menu.

Articles will undergo the journal’s standard peer-review process and are subject to all of the journal’s standard policies. Articles will be added to the Collection as they are published.

The Editors have no competing interests with the submissions which they handle through the peer review process. The peer review of any submissions for which the Editors have competing interests is handled by another Editorial Board Member who has no competing interests.