Florida State University

College of Social Sciences & Public Policy

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Public Health Students’ PSA Chosen For National Conference Screening

A public service announcement produced by students in the college’s interdisciplinary Master of Public Health program has been selected for screening at the 2019 Global Public Health Film Festival during the American Public Health Association’s 2019 Annual Meeting and Expo in Philadelphia in November 2019.

“The Seeds You Need – How to Grow a Healthy Mind” was created for the FSU Public Health Student Association to promote and encourage healthy practices that support mental health and quality of life for elementary school students, ages 5-11. It was produced for the Florida Department of Health with collaborative support from the department’s Wakulla County office, Wakulla County Schools, and WFSU Public Media.

Evidence supporting the PSA’s underlying message derives from Wakulla County’s Community Health Assessment and Community Health Improvement Plan, in addition to information obtained during community roundtable meetings.

Salient health-related topics ascertained from survey data and community meetings were integrated into the educational PSA to provide information and advice on healthy practices that can foster academic success, pacify stressful situations and develop skills for time management.

In summer 2018, the students were seeking novel research opportunities and spoke with Wakulla County Health Officer Pad Juarez, who offered support for their efforts. They discussed the health needs of the county and how barriers to access and transportation can undermine a rural area’s ability to impact health needs.

“Before we even knew what our research project would be or if we even had a project at all, we knew that effective communication for this area would be ideally captured through a remote medium,” said MPH student Esther Rowan, the project’s research and production lead. “Producing a film became the innovative solution.”

The team analyzed past and current county-level data to access county-specific health needs and presented results to stakeholders in the community.

“Engaging Wakulla County in this project was especially significant because we wanted to know if our assessments matched their communities’ experiences,” Rowan said. “This project was especially gratifying because it followed tenets of public health, for example using survey data to establish needs and involving the communities that make up these numbers to develop and implement an effective strategy.”

The students produced two PSAs designed for all the elementary schools in the Wakulla county area. One PSA covered healthy behaviors, such as nutrition and physical activity, and the other covered mental health and support strategy. Both films were produced, edited and animated by WFSU, and both were submitted to American Public Health Association’s Global Film Festival. APHA accepted the PSA (posted at the bottom of this article) and invited the student team to make a presentation in conjunction with the screening. Several students are planning to travel to the conference in the fall.