The Michigan Organization on Adolescent Sexual Health (MOASH), in collaboration with Wayne State University (WSU) and the Connect 2 Protect (C2P) Detroit Coalition, is making some exciting progress with their Youth Education Access on HIV (YEAH) project in Detroit, Michigan. This initiative aims to improve access to HIV/AIDS-related health information for patients, the affected community, and their caregivers. By doing so, project partners hope to eliminate barriers in access to information technology among Detroit youth in the short term and establish communities that are better positioned to decrease the incidence and prevalence of HIV/AIDS among Detroit youth in the long term.
In June and July, MOASH coordinated two youth focus groups. The purpose of the focus groups was for youth participants to review the National Libraries of Medicine (NLM) digital publications and provide valuable feedback on how NLM resources could be used to effectively disseminate health information to area youth. From the focus groups, it was quickly apparent that NLM is not a resource that youth are currently using to get information and answer their questions about HIV. Time was taken at each focus group to discuss 1) how MOASH can support in creating resources to make NLM sites more youth-friendly and accessible and 2) how Michigan youth can support in sharing information provided on NLM sites in ways that are more youth-friendly and accessible.
In each focus group, the conversation quickly turned to TikTok. This is the platform where youth are currently sharing information. The youth focus group participants were very clear that this is the most efficient and effective platform for reaching many young people.
In response, MOASH worked alongside young people to develop a youth training that 1) provided an overview of the NLM sites (both content and how to navigate) youth found most valuable; 2) how to critically assess online information for credibility and accuracy; and 3) how to most effectively make Tik Tok videos and have them go viral. MOASH brought in Mars Wright, a Tik Tok influencer and social media expert to provide tips and strategies to the participants. Each participant who completed the training and committed to submitting a Tik Tok video about the NLM site and/or content was mailed a ring light and tripod to make their video. As with all MOASH programming, youth were compensated for their time and energy at the training.
The training was a success and six of the nine participants agreed to creating content that is youth focused, friendly, and non-biased using a platform that they already use every day. Tik Tok videos are to be submitted by 9/30/2020.
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