Michaela Thayer

Brain-Science and Reaching Audiences

Nov 02

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to participate part-one of a two-part training focusing on identifying and leveraging the ways people think and behave, all according to scientific studies of the brain.  The training made me think a lot about how we are reach our audiences.  We often segment our audiences based on sex, age, socio-economic status, ethnicity, or culture in order to maximize effectiveness…but we are not able to look at the brain chemistry of the people we target.  It would be amazing if we could. 

Every person’s brain operates and takes action a little differently.  After all, we’re unique beings.  No two people share same set of genes.  (Even identical twins have “epigenetic” differences).  On top of this, no two people on this planet share all the same experiences growing up.  The way I see it, “nature” set out genetic blueprints for each of us when we were born, and “nurture” has helped to fill in these complex blueprints in years since. 

 

There are four different modes of thinking and everyone has thinking preferences that are wired in based on nature and nurture.  Analytical thinkers (left brain) are technical and investigative, constantly examining data and drawing critical, objective conclusions.  Structural thinkers (also left brain), are practical, extremely detail-oriented, and very organized.  Conceptual thinkers (right brain) are “big picture” people who come up with big ideas, are imaginative, and are very capable of understanding abstract approaches.  Social thinkers (also right brain) are very in-tune to the human condition, form personalized and empathic connections with others, and often incorporate teamwork into their daily lives. 

In the training yesterday, I learned that I am primarily a social and analytical thinker.  Therefore, if someone approaches me with messaging, I am most likely to take it to heart if it appeals to my emotions or makes logical sense.  Now, if someone approached another person who is mainly a structural thinker, the messaging would have to be practical and step-oriented in order to most effectively reach that person.  If someone approached another person who is mainly a conceptual thinker, the messaging would be most effective if it was presented in a way that took the individual’s whole life into account.  You get the idea. 

We’re all such different thinkers and because of this, we each take in information differently.  While we can segment our audiences based on demographics, we will never be able to truly segment our audiences based on brain thinking preferences.  Because we can’t, we must always make sure that our messages in materials, media, and grassroots programming are capable of appealing to all four types of thinkers. 

Let’s say we were encouraging people with high blood pressure to lower their blood pressure.  For analytical thinkers, we could discuss credible proof of how high blood pressure can lead to major health conditions down the road.  For structural thinkers, we could make a list of steps to lower blood pressure.  For conceptual thinkers, we could show how lowering blood pressure can lead to a longer, healthier life.  For social thinkers, we could encourage them to take action not just for themselves, but for their families.   To reach every type of thinker, our messaging would have to include all of these elements in one way or another. 

Interesting, right? I love this stuff.

Q&A with Nutrition Counselor Vaughn Gray

Oct 14

In social marketing theory, the Ecological Model of Health Behavior is a framework that describes how individual beliefs and behaviors occur within a societal context. Therefore health promotion can often times be effective through changing the social environment that individuals or masses live within. With this, there is still much to be said about individual choices, personal experiences and history, age, education, socio-economic status, and even individual biology—all factors that influence our decisions regarding our health.

Last week, I had the opportunity to interview nutrition counselor Vaughn Gray to really delve into his success in reaching individuals, no matter their societal context, in order to help people to become healthier and happier.

Vaughn holds his bachelor’s degree in Biology and Philosophy from Amherst College and his master’s degree in Human Sciences from Oxford University where he studied as a Rhodes Scholar. He has devoted his career to understanding the ways that all of us function as physical, mental, and emotional beings, and has helped people to make healthy decisions in their lives. Below you’ll find his personal responses to my questions on healthy behavior change. 

Q. You have a holistic approach to overall health and well-being. Can you describe this?

A. Sure.  I always tell people “Remember your MEDS—Mind state, Exercise, Diet, and Sleep.” The way that you eat, exercise, sleep, and think about yourself have a huge impact on your health and quality of life. My approach to wellbeing is understanding patterns within our own biology. Our DNA is built to thrive with healthy whole foods. Sugars, white flour, and processed foods are not what we are meant to eat. For example, if you take a polar bear and feed it bird food, it will not do very well. The same is true for human beings—we must live our lives the way our biology is designed.

Q.  Can you tell me a little bit about what you do to help people change their lives for the better?

A. I love giving seminar presentations, whether they are half day or full day presentations. I also teach teleclasses over three month time periods, which are conference-call based sessions. And of course, I find great passion in one-on-one counseling as well.

Q. Why is it hard for people to make positive healthy changes in their lives?

A. Often times, people eat well and exercise for the wrong reasons and they can’t maintain their healthy lifestyle. They want to be skinnier or look better, but these reasons aren’t inspiring.  They need to focus on something that uplifts them – something with real possibility. I encourage a focus on physical and mental wellbeing that empowers a richer life rather than thinking about body weight or image.  Most unhealthy behavior like poor eating or not going to the gym is driven by stress and negative emotion. Thinking we need to look better or fit some external ideal of perfection just adds fuel to the flame.  We feel “driven” to lose weight for a week or two, and then undermine our own attempts. We need a different focus.

Q. How can individuals break unhealthy patterns and behaviors?

A. I tell people, “Pick something that inspires you as a motivator—and pick a change that is feasible for two weeks. Then tune into your emotions. Recognize that you emotionally feel ‘good’ when you do something that physiologically makes you feel ‘good’.” I tell people to be gentle with themselves and be kind to themselves. Walking or running can actually be a treat if you listen to your favorite music go to a peaceful setting to exercise in.

Q. Once someone is on the healthy-train and they fall off track, what, in your experience, motivates them to jump back on?

A. When you fall off the healthy train, you might have fallen off because of a reason you’re not aware of. This is an opportunity to look at your life and be honest and forgiving. Look at why you fell off track from an emotional perspective – what was the trigger? A certain kind of stress?  Look for how you can live in a more forgiving way to yourself and others.  Inner peace comes from not holding yourself and others up to insane standards and being understanding. This decreases stress, and makes staying on a healthy program a lot easier. Of course, it takes work to learn how to be easy on ourselves. Strange but true!

Q. In your work, how has awareness and education led to healthy behavior change?

A. In my experience, awareness and education can lead to healthy behavior change when they focus on changing perspective. Most people try to eat healthy out of fear. Fear can motivate us for a little bit, but is never inspiring, and only inspiration creates true change.  When I am educating people about the importance of being healthy, I try to give people a sense of renewed possibility, and people are able to change their behaviors for the good in this context.

Q. What have you found successful in terms of inspiring individuals to change their behaviors in order to live healthier lifestyles?

A. The people who are able to address challenges in their lives and change their behavior in a healthy way are the people who are really able to listen to themselves. Feelings of guilt and failure do not motivate people to change. It’s the sense of love and acceptance of oneself that prompts healthy behavior change. You can learn to love and accept yourself, and it’s a fine art and science. It is every bit as challenging and rewarding as learning any other complex skill.

Q. Do you think that this sort of motivation is possible on a larger scale in the form of public health campaigns?

A. Absolutely. I believe we’re in the middle of a quiet revolution that is picking up speed. Media is focusing more and more on self esteem and self worth. The idea of “making yourself a priority” is becoming louder and louder. With these sorts of positive messages, it is absolutely possible to improve the health of a nation and the world.

Q. How important is prevention when it comes to chronic diseases?

A. Prevention is everything when it comes to chronic disease. The way you live your life determines your likelihood of chronic disease. While we all have some genetic patterns that can create a higher risk for a certain disease, we also have ‘good’ genes designed to keep our tissue healthy. When we don’t treat our bodies right physically or emotionally, the ‘good’ genes don’t function properly. Chronic disease is something that we shouldn’t have to worry about, but we need to treat ourselves right in order to prevent it.

Q. How can your success in reaching numerous individuals be applied to reaching millions of people across the United States?

A. Simple coherent messaging is important, and mass media is a powerful tool on top of grassroots movements and community programming. There is no one opposed to people being ‘more well’ and this is a place that we can find common ground. We need to recognize the bi-partisan nature of public health wellness efforts and support them at the local, corporate, and governmental level. This is critical to reaching all sorts of people across the United States.

If you would like to read more about Vaughn Gray, visit www.vaughngray.com or www.reevolution.com.

Health Literacy and Patient Education Materials

Oct 07

Last week, I attended an American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) conference in Denver, Colorado.  As an exhibitor, I discussed materials needs with hundreds of physicians from all around the country.  Although my various conversations were spread out over a number of different health conditions, there was one commonality in every exchange I had.  The need for patient education materials to speak to those with low health literacy was extremely apparent

It’s so important for patients be able to understand risks and benefits to preventative measures and treatments for health conditions.  On top of this, think about the benefits to cognitively knowing where to look for trustworthy health information, interpreting test results, and being able to fully comprehend materials like fact sheets, brochures, or wallet cards when it comes to your personal health. 

 

As social marketers, we need to be cognizant of our audiences and their abilities to understand and conceptualize health information.  Think about this—according to the National Network of Libraries of Medicine, reading abilities are typically three to five grade levels below the last year of school completed.  Therefore, people with a high school diploma typically read at a seventh or eighth grade reading level. 

In undertaking materials development for public health initiatives, we must always try to be clear, concise, straight-forward, using visual cues with text to strengthen comprehension levels.  Materials should always be composed in an active voice and whenever a technical term is used, it should be explained.  Words and sentences should generally be short and simple.  It is up to our country’s healthcare and public health professionals to ensure that patients understand the information they receive well enough to apply it!

Cause Consumers—Loving What’s Out There and Wanting More

Sep 23

We see it everywhere.  Yoplait’s commitment  to breast cancer research.  Dasani’s dedication  to water conservation.  Dove’s devotion  to positive self-image.  Every week, I feel like I hear about a new cause initiative.  Brands have increasingly recognized the importance of giving back to their communities, and this has, without a doubt, contributed to a crowded environment of causes galore.  Traditionally in marketing, one might say that when a field is over-saturated, messages can become blurry.  But fortunately, when it comes to cause marketing, a new study released by Cone says otherwise. 

Take a look at these stats.  83% of consumers want more of the products, services and retailers they use to benefit causes.  85% of consumers have a more positive image of a product or company when it supports a cause they care about, and 80% are likely to switch brands, similar in price and quality, to one that supports a cause.  These numbers are huge! Just because there are a lot of companies-with-causes out there, consumers are not tired of hearing about them.  The reality is just the opposite.  Consumers want to purchase goods and services from companies they can feel good about. 

So how does this relate to social marketing anyways? Let’s look at Gatorade.  Gatorade is a marketed sports drink that aims to help athletes stay hydrated to reach their top potential.  Now let’s look at NFL PLAY 60, a social marketing program of the National Football League that urges Americans to “play” 60 minutes a day, in attempt to combat the obesity epidemic among us.  As many of us know, Gatorade recently partnered with NFL PLAY 60 by sponsoring a Junior Training designed to teach kids football-related skills in a non-contact environment.  Through this program, coaches and volunteers convey the importance of being active for 60 minutes every.  Based on study data mentioned above, Gatorade “wins” because consumers are likely to place high value and priority on their brand and NFL PLAY 60 also “wins” because more people are reached with health-messaging on an individual basis through Gatorade’s programming. 

One more example for you to think about—the MAC Aids Fund.  MAC Cosmetics is a powerful brand in the fight against AIDS.  100% of proceeds from their Viva Glam lip stick and lip gloss goes toward helping men, women, and kids everywhere affected by HIV/AIDS.  MAC additionally partners with a number of social marketing grant programs aimed to change perceptions and stereotypes of people living with AIDS.  These programs additionally encourage citizens to become educated around the issue and get involved.  MAC has become a go-to name in cosmetics, and as a woman, I purchase cosmetics from MAC, even though they are more costly than, say, another brand not affiliated with a cause I care about.  While women all over are thinking like me here (as the Cone study suggests), HIV/AIDS has really come to the forefront of issues we, as Americans and world citizens, need to address.

With the crossings of causes, behavior change, social marketing, corporate marketing, and public relations coming together so often these days, it is great to know from a human perspective that consumers still want to “do good” and play individual roles in larger cause initiatives.

Focus Groups!

Sep 09

 

As we all know well, research is a critical component to every public relations, marketing, and advertising campaign out there.  Knowing your audience is vital to the success of social marketing programs.  And while there are numerous methods of gathering data about your consumer, focus group testing is one of the most commonly used market research techniques…for good reason. 

I work on a campaign that involves (among an array of other elements) the development, distribution, and tracking of print, radio, and television public service announcements (PSAs).  We have continually sought ways to keep our PSAs fresh, engaging, and relevant to our target audiences and public service advertising directors because our PSAs have to compete for ad space with paid advertising campaigns.  To do this, we’ve conducted focus groups approximately every four years since the campaign’s inception. 

This past Summer, we conducted focus groups in five different cities, to gain insights in order to develop relevant messages and new PSAs based on findings.  We tested a variety of actual PSA concepts we put together prior to the research, and we are now in the process of analyzing everything that we heard from our focus group participants. 

When I was in college, I participated in focus groups for extra cash.  Let me tell you…it’s very different when you’re on the other side of the two-way mirror.  I want to share a few lessons from my experience this Summer…best practices if you will.  I would appreciate comments as well—I’m sure others have a lot to share!

Ensure that your moderator guides do not put words in participants’ mouths.  People LOVE to talk about themselves generally, and if someone has something to say, they will most likely say it (although it may take some nudging).

Beware of group think and try to recognize it.  Group think is when people express similar opinions to the others in the group, even when it may not reflect their own. 

Listen to the shy folks.  Often times, there are a few dominant people who will comes through in focus groups, but just because they have a louder voice, it doesn’t mean that the shyer people don’t feel just as strongly. 

Listen to “Whys.” Listen for reasons that people would or not go for your product, be it a PSA, an environmentally friendly hair spray, or a reason to be healthy.  This will help you decipher where you audience is really coming from.

Select the right participants.  Ensure that your participant group is within your target audience, but pay close attention to make sure some diversity within that group.  8 people who are all white, age 55, make $60,000 per year, and live in the same neighborhood is likely not a good representative sample of your target population. 

Don’t get hung up on counting.  If you have people rank taglines, for instance, or ads in order of preference, this is good data.  But it’s not the only data.  Recognize attitudes and even facial expressions.  Pay close attention to the things that can’t be counted.

Perhaps most importantly…be objective! We all have favorite ideas and brands and materials and sometimes we can’t help but want our participants to agree with us.  But push your bias aside and LISTEN to your audience.  They are the true-tellers of whether or not your product, ad, community idea, etc. will work out. 

One more note.  Quantitative research is important too.  There is no doubt about that.  But sometimes, quantitative research lacks an insight into The Big Picture.  Perceptions, attitudes, backgrounds, and feelings can all contribute to whether or not someone is going to buy a product or change their behavior.  And these factors cannot be measured by numbers.  Focus groups provide qualitative information, so that we, as social marketers, can truly understand our audiences.

“Emerging Adulthood” and Social Marketing Implications

Aug 24

An article in the New York Times last week,  “What Is It About 20-Somethings?”,   instantly caught my eye.  After all, I am myself a 20-something, and it’s always interesting to scrutinize what people unlike you scientifically conclude about people like you.  I remember taking my first psychology class in high school and learning about adolescence.  My text book told me that I, as a teen, was emotional, struggling with self-identity, and that I was rebellious.  At the time, I thought this was a stretch.  But in retrospect, this was probably spot-on. 

Now in 2010, the question “Why are so many people in their 20s taking so long to grow up?” seems to be at top of mind to many top social psychologists.

New York Times journalist Robin Marantz Henig sums it up nicely: “ It’s a development that predates the current economic doldrums, and no one knows yet what the impact will be…The traditional cycle seems to have gone off course, as young people remain un­tethered to romantic partners or to permanent homes, going back to school for lack of better options, traveling, avoiding commitments, competing ferociously for unpaid internships or temporary (and often grueling) Teach for America jobs, forestalling the beginning of adult life.”

Jeffery Jensen Arnett,  a psychology professor at Clark University in Worcester, MA,  is pushing for a recognized new stage in life called “emerging adulthood”.  Due to a growing need for higher education in U.S.  based on the job market, the acceptance of premarital sex, and the diminishing pressure for people in their 20s to marry young, Arnett believes that “emerging adulthood” is a time that young adults explore their possibilities while they have an uncertain future, and really engage in self-focus and awareness.  “Emerging adulthood” is not yet a recognized stage in life due to a great deal of debate, particularly because it can’t be applied to developing countries.  The “failure to launch” epidemic that is found in this period of life can only be applied to industrialized countries. 

So what would happen if “emerging adulthood” became a recognized life stage? I believe that the social marketing implications would be vast.  Just think.  Adolescence wasn’t an accepted stage in life until 1904, coined by G.  Stanley Hall.  Once it was recognized, healthcare, education, and even laws were adapted to provide special services aimed at this group.  And because of this, we now have numerous social marketing programs aimed to reduce teen violence, programs to keep teenagers sober and off drugs, and programs to decrease adolescent obesity, just to name a few. 

If “emerging adulthood” was commonly accepted by individuals and governments alike, I could easily foresee behavioral social marketing programs aimed at 20-somethings to help them gain independence from parents.  And because substance abuse tends to become a more serious problem when those affected are in their early 20s, I could foresee programs specifically targeted at this age group…focusing on getting treatment, rather than prevention.  In addition to this, I can envision social marketing programs with a goal to reduce 20-something anxiety.  People in their 20s have so much pressure to get so many things accomplished in a short amount of time.  We’re supposed to get an education, and now even a bachelor’s degree doesn’t seem to be enough.  We’re supposed to find jobs we like, but somehow make enough money to establish ourselves and pay off our often tens of thousands of dollars in student loans.  We’re supposed to decide if we want a life partner, and if so, we’re supposed to find them.  We’re supposed to maintain friendships to last a lifetime, and we also need to start taking care of our parents as they’re getting older.  Wouldn’t it be great if the government encouraged us to all do yoga and provided free yoga classes in every metropolitan city? Just kidding (kind of). 

At this point, there really is no way to know whether or not “emerging adulthood” will actually become an accepted and recognized stage in life.  It will be interesting to follow the debate as the months and perhaps years go by.  But one thing is certain—we as social marketers, will unquestionably be involved.

“What Do You Do?”

Aug 11

When you meet someone for the first time (friend of a friend, parent of a friend, someone random on the street who starts talking to you), you are inevitably compelled to make conversation.  Sometimes it’s small talk.  Sometimes it’s more substantial.  But always…always…the question comes up.  “What do you do?”

When I first started at Ogilvy, I used to say “Social Marketing.”  But then the endless amount questions followed.  How do you explain something so complex to a person you hardly know?  They may have little understanding of communications and marketing, never mind the intricacies of behavior change principals we employ on a daily basis.  After a few months of looking at confused faces as I tried to articulate myself around the concept of social marketing, I changed my answer.

“What do you do?” they would ask.  And I began say “Cause Marketing.”  With this answer, people immediately understood that my job involves marketing for the ‘good’ of society.  People got it.  Well…kind of.  Cause marketing technically involves for-profit businesses helping out non-profit cause(s) in one way or another, whether it is through corporate giving, or through collaboration on other cause-related programming.  But I also personally work on behalf of two public Federal agencies.  So my answer “Cause Marketing” wasn’t really accurate across all of my accounts.

Social marketing involves the application of consumer marketing principles to the promotion of ideas and practices to create awareness and change attitudes and behaviors regarding social issues.   Public safety, violence reduction, environmental sustainability, the promotion of volunteerism, and health and well-being are all social marketing topics, just to name a few.   Social marketing can be used to change intentions around perception of risk and social norms, and can additionally provide skills needed to carry out specific behaviors to improve the health and safety of individuals, or of a population, or even of an ecosystem.  (Imagine saying this at a dinner party…)

My conclusion: There is sometimes an overlap between social marketing and cause marketing.  For example, one project I work on involves a corporate organization that aims to advance education.  We apply behavior change tactics to encourage people to give back to their local educational communities, reward teachers for hard work, and volunteer in their local school systems.   Social marketing. The project also involves corporate giving to educational non-profits through corporate social responsibility.  And with this, the program promotes consumer purchasing behavior.  Cause marketing.

“What do you do?” I now have it down to just a few short and sweet sentences:

“I work in social marketing.  I use traditional communications principals and apply them to help others change their behaviors for the ‘social good.’ It’s kind of like cause marketing—making a difference.”

Social Marketing Fieldtrip to FOX 5 Evening News

Jul 23

Blogging. Twitter. Facebook. WOM. Widgets.

It’s so true, these words are all “household names” that have become more and more common over the past decade. So what is happening to traditional media? With the ever growing channels of mass communication in the world around us, is there still a place for, say, long-established TV news?

Yes. According to the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, 68% of people still get their local news from television reports. This is huge. And we can’t ignore it despite the fact that we’re all going digital.

Mason Essif, a media strategist in our social marketing practice here in DC, invited Jenna McIntyre, Alexandra Vaughn, and I to FOX 5 on Monday to watch the FOX 5 evening news filmed live. Laura Evans, host of the evening news gave us a tour of the studio, and talked us all through the process of generating content, and ensuring that viewers are receiving the most applicable, timely, and relevant news available.

Check out the video link below. It’s really interesting to see what is happening “behind the scenes” the broadcasts we all see on TV, especially since we all still need to consider how many Americans are still gathering their news from traditional broadcast media.

Patient Autonomy: Good or Bad?

Jul 16

Yesterday, Ogilvy held a really interesting panel discussion called “How Social Change happens in the 21st Century.” (Natalie posted a nice synopsis about it here). We covered a variety of topics regarding healthy behavior change, and discussed appropriate and effective channels of communication to reach audiences that are already bombarded with thousands of messages every day.

The “issue” of patient autonomy came up. When I say “issue,” I am not kidding. Some people in the room truly felt that patient autonomy is a major hindrance to public health. I get it. I am even a culprit. When I have a headache, I go online to see what may or may not be wrong with me. When my friends want to lose weight, they search blogs for diet plans. And my parents (they’re very young) are approaching age 50. And with age 50 comes a variety of new tests and screenings. Who do they talk to? They talk to their friends who have already gone through the “50-year-old” exams. Do we talk to our doctors about our health concerns? Absolutely.  But with modern technology and an openness to discuss personal health perhaps more than ever before, we all have other ways of seeking health information.

I never really viewed all of this as negative. More channels of seeking information gives public health communicators more channels of reaching target audiences. The more ways you can reach your target audiences, the more powerful your messaging becomes. Although some of my colleagues work on campaigns that are directed toward physicians, I personally work on campaigns that are directed mainly toward consumers. I guess this is why I never saw a problem with patient autonomy.

So what is the “issue” with patient autonomy? Yesterday’s panel made me realize that health literacy is a real concern in the U.S. and finding information online, for example, does not always translate to comprehension. Furthermore, doctors go through years and years of training, and can absolutely give personal advice and the best possible quality of care to patients. When patient / physician interaction is cut down due to patient autonomy, this can be dangerous.

So what do we do about this? Well, we can’t possibly stop human curiosity. We’re not going to regulate the internet so that people can’t look up health information. We’re not going to infringe on free speech when a woman wants to talk to another woman about her first mammogram. I say…let’s roll with it. Technology isn’t going away, and neither is the basic human instinct to be inquisitive. Let’s use the many lines of information and communication to encourage patients to talk to their doctors. Let’s use these channels to encourage healthy behaviors.

Patient autonomy can be a scary thing, but in another light, it also opens doors and opportunities for those us seeking to create and implement public health programs that have lasting effects.

Health Education Saving Health Care Dollars

Jun 22

A friend of mine, Joanna Smiley, writes for the Hartford Business Journal, and she recently wrote a fascinating article discussing naturopathy. Her interviews with Dr. Marina Franzoni-Acosta and Dr. Stacey Munro, both naturopathic physicians, revealed that many of insurance companies are unwilling to pay for the amount of time necessary to fully help their patients. The ironic factor is that naturopathy emphasizes preventative medicine and patient education, which over the years could save billions of health care dollars.

Despite my knowledge of the reasoning behind public health education, I was not, prior to this article, aware of the preventative measures naturopathic medicine takes for its patients. It’s a lot more “mainstream” than one might think in this regard. Think about it. Despite what field of medicine your primary doctor belongs to, I would bet that they give you advice on eating healthy; they give you advice on being physically active; they ask you about your family history of chronic conditions, to assess your risk; and in these conversations, they talk about what you can be doing to stay healthy.

Preventable causes of death, such as smoking, poor diet, physical inactivity, and misuse of alcohol have been estimated to be responsible for 900,000 deaths annually — nearly 40% of total yearly mortality in the United States. This is startling, and from a policy perspective, you can’t ignore how much money could have been saved here. Study after study shows that primary and preventive care greatly reduces future health care costs.

For American Heart Month this past February, President Obama signed a proclamation. Among other things, it said, “We can all make changes one step at a time.  Set realistic goals.  Get encouragement from friends and family.  Reward yourself. And above all, remember that taking action now can mean a longer, healthier life for you and those you love.”

I think we’re heading in the right direction. And as a social marketer, and as an implementer of public health education, it seems that policy makers and health care providers (be they naturopathic doctors, dentists, herbalists, gynecologists, you name it) have the same idea. Health education is important, saving lives, and saving dollars.