Tag Archive | health

Five Somewhat Amusing Facts About Epidemiology

An introduction to epidemiology. Please ask any questions you have about starting a career in epidemiology. Enjoy!


A chat show with 1.6 million followers on facebook, compelling the government to frame new policies

Last week we talked about Sabido Methodology and how “Simplemente Maria” or “Simply Maria” was an impressive example of this methodology and how each episode of this soap opera from the 80’s showcased social issues and highlighted them. The Show was so popular even in countries as far as erstwhile Soviet Union, where I was studying at that time,  that it was aired dubbed in Russian during prime time. In the transit and public places it was public’s favorite topic for starting conversation, share views and predictions about what will happen next?

Times have changed from the 80s and it will be difficult to expect or predict now that any soap opera will be as popular and effective in highlighting social vices on such a large-scale.

I  always wondered  about  talk shows which appeared on TV, with expert’s views, discussions and recommendations on wide range of topics. I was skeptical about the utility of these talk shows and their effectiveness in bringing changes to quotidian problems faced by common man.I got my answers last year when i learnt about the impacts of  chat show “Satyamev Jayate”.

Worldwide many celebrities from Angelina Jolie to Bono of U2 fame are supporting and bringing the media attention to global issues from environment to poverty to health. In India Aamir Khan Image is doing his bit in a different way.He is considered the  Tom Hanks of “Bollywood” (Bollywood-Indian film industry, where roughly 900 movies are made per year, coming to Vancouver on 6th April for TOIFA awards night). Aamir Khan is known for doing things differently. He is among the top three Bollywood actors and three years ago he thought of entering the world of television. He is a social activist at heart and had been talking about environmental issues in the public. Aamir and his team took two years to do the research work and identified issues affecting common people. In May, 2012 with the support of Star Network in India, his chat show on social issues ,  titled “Satyamev Jayate” meaning Truth triumphs, was launched. The show was aired on Sundays morning at 11:00 and it was said that roads had remarkably less traffic as had happened before in India only during cricket matches between India and Pakistan. There are 1.24 billion (1,249,440,319) connections, 1.6 million followers on Facebook and 91.4 K followers on twitter for “Satyamev Jayate”. There are more than eight million (8,115,739) Community Members.Through this  a total of  223,064,210 Indian rupees (more than 3 Million CAD) in donations, have been received for various organizations and NGOs working directly on these  issues. In the first season 13 episodes were aired, each  focusing on issues of national and global importance including water conservation, community based health Insurance (CBHI) , intimate partner violence (IPV),neoliberalism, medical negligence, and pesticides. The themes of 13 episodes were :

The Idea of India – Episode 13

Water – Episode 12

Old Age – Episode 11

Untouchability – Episode 10

Alcohol Abuse – Episode 9

Toxic Food – Episode 8

Domestic Violence – Episode 7

Persons With Disabilities – Episode 6

Intolerance To Love – Episode 5

Every Life Is Precious – Episode 4

Big Fat Indian Wedding – Episode 3

Child Sexual Abuse – Episode 2

Female feticide – Episode 1

Each episode is of around one hour duration. A summarizing episode on all the 13 episodes and their impacts on policies and society  with English subtitles is available at : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=COrjitFiSXg&playnext=1&list=PL6AF7C1545DB4BA76&feature=results_video

All the 13 episodes with English subtitles are available at:


A few radical  solutions for example live in relationship for senior citizens and heart surgeries for $1100 were brought to public attention that were hard to envisage in India  few years back.

The impact of this chat show has been nationwide ranging from a national bill on child protection passed in the upper house of Indian parliament to cancellation of registration of doctors involved in female feticide. Few of the successful changes that happened in response to this chat shows are:


Show on the Disabled Jolts Govt into Action

Satyamev Jayate gets AA drunk on its own success


March against female feticide

Lok Sabha passes child protection bill courtesy Aamir

Madhya Pradesh suspends licence of 65 MTP centres

NGO flooded with child abuse cases after Satyamev Jayate

Women & Child Dev Min promises action

Satyamev Jayate Impact: Five Rajasthan doctors booked

Kids make MMS of child abuser, get him arrested

Schools plan workshops on good touch, bad touch

Satyamev Jayate effect: 7 abortion centre’s licence cancelled

Generic drugs to be available by Oct-Nov: Min after Aamir pitch


Unwanted womb removal: Registration of nine private doctors suspended

Satyamev Jayate Impact? Karnataka government to open generic drug stores


‘Satyameva Jayate’ inspires sarpanch to act against female foeticide

The URL of its website is www.satyamevjayate.in

Satyamev Jayate, which has struck the right chord with the audiences, has reportedly inspired a British talk show host Tim Sebastian. In case you don’t know who he is – Sebastian is the man behind popular talk show Hard Talk on BBC.
It’s hard to recall a television show from recent with so much impact on policies and social issues of a common man interest.The next season of Satyamev Jayate is planned post September this year.


Entertainment + Education + Health

The thought of getting entertained and educated at the same time excites me. Very often, I experience one over the other. But on those occasions that I am entertained and learn something new at the same time, I tend to remember those things a lot better.

A couple of weeks ago, I watched a social documentary called “The House I Live In”, which advocates for a deeper and critical analysis of drug laws within America’s justice system. It addresses an important public health issue that affects many people. After watching the film, I couldn’t help but feel empowered in some way and ready to make a change. I’m not sure how much I can really do as one individual but I was very enlightened after leaving the theatre.

The point is, I was definitely entertained and educated.

Check out the trailer for the film:

All of this got me thinking about the importance of entertainment education and how it relates to issues of public health.

What Is Entertainment Education (EE)?

Entertainment education, as its name suggests, is all about educating people through some form of entertainment. In this case, it’s all about educating people about health issues but in an entertaining way. In essence, entertainment education is a communication strategy for social change.

Entertainment Education:
– places educational messages into popular entertainment
– raises awareness
– increases knowledge
– motivates people
– changes attitudes
– often leads to social action (KFF, 2004)


More and more public health organizations in the United States are using entertainment education as a form of health communication. EE can be conducted by health agencies or anyone who has the means to influence media and/or has a personal concern for a health issue. Hollywood-based organizations are often involved in the U.S. when it comes to entertainment education. (Check out Hollywood, Health, & Society at http://hollywoodhealthandsociety.org/)

Entertainment education is often a complement of the work being done by NGOs, the government, etc. It serves as an alternative means of health communication. Television (e.g. soap operas, reality shows, sitcoms, etc.) is the main source of entertainment education in the United States (KFF, 2004).


Shows such as “Friends” emphasized the issues surrounding unplanned pregnancies while “Lizzie Mcguire” (a favourite of mine!) looked at issues of self-esteem. Whatever the specific medium may be, health-related messages have been incorporated into the media for a long time and continue to be. All of this is entertainment education.

Check out the following video from the WHO’s Entertainment Education Project:

Other examples of EE include the movie “Contagion”, which I watched in a class last semester. It also left me educated and entertained. I didn’t realize until then how powerful the incorporation of health-related messaging into the popular media could be.


Whether we notice it or not, health messaging and entertainment education is all around us, even while we’re watching that late-night sitcom to release the stress of our daily lives.

Some examples of issues that EE works on,

The Art of Storytelling

Tell A Story. Change The World.

Storytelling is extremely powerful as it forms connections between ideas and presents them in a way that is appealing to the senses. Narratives help make sense of the things that people encounter in their everyday lives; they are invaluable in presenting ideas and provoking thought about a variety of issues.

Story-telling is an intrinsic part of human beings. We have been “hardwired” to engage in storytelling to create meaningful interactions. It’s no wonder then that storytelling is such an important aspect of entertainment education and public health.

From the WHO video above, “Entertainment education is as old as storytelling itself. As long as humans have told stories, they have taught lessons as well.”

Storytelling as the root of entertainment education is an aspect that I find very appealing. Storytelling is also about presenting information in a creative way. In my opinion, entertainment education is about the capacity to portray important health messages in uniquely creative or creatively unique ways. Infusing socially-relevant issues into media communication is an excellent way of getting the message across and getting people to think. I don’t know about you, but the next time I see anything on T.V. or at the movies, I’ll definitely be paying attention to any health messaging that may be shining through.

For more information, see:

Kaiser Family Foundation (2004). Entertainment Education and Health in the United States. Retrieved from http://www.kff.org/entmedia/upload/entertainment-education-and-health-in-the-united-states-issue-brief.pdf



– Misha B.

Things you should know about: Oral Rehydration Therapy

Hi all,

Here is our Oral Rehydration Therapy (ORT) slides.

Baindu and I actually re-drew some of the images in the slides to simplify them, so feel free to copy and print them off on a larger scale for your own personal use. Also, as this information/presentation is most likely to be used in the field be sure to make it culturally appropriate to whichever audience you’re working with.

Remember, ORT can be useful in many situations. Baindu and I focused on dehydration as a leading factor, but contaminated water/food sources which causes diarrhea can also require the use of ORT.

ORT Presentation

(abrubach, 2013, bkosia, 2013)

Rethink Breast Cancer Social Marketing Campaign

Recently I came across a video advertisement on Facebook:Rethink Breast Cancer: Your Man Reminder . As a young female I find many of the side panel advertisements targeted to my demographics, however this one was particularly daring. I remember hearing about it a few years ago when it was originally released, but thought I’d mention it again on our course blog as it has to do with Social Marketing in the Health domain.

Rethink Breast Cancer is an innovative approach to breast cancer education, support and research that attracts a younger target audience (<40 yrs) and attempts to meet their continually changing needs.

The target audience is suggested to be: modern, bold, culturally aware, youthful, and upbeat. In their 20’s, 30’s or early 40’s who are not necessarily responding to the typical breast cancer awareness campaigns of pink ribbons, teddy bears, cancer walks, or other brochure-type information packets.

The goal of Rethink Breast Cancer is to bring BOLD awareness to a prominent health concern by “foster[ing] a new generation of young and influential breast cancer supporters; infus[ing] sass and style into the cause; and most importantly, respond[ing] to the unique needs of young women going through it” (www.rethinkbreastcancer.com).

They are attempting to motivate young women to take responsibility for their breast health, focusing on prevention and early detection. By redesigning dated images, ideas, and language associated with breast cancer they are creating high-impact, fear-free messaging. Partnering with like-minded organizations to bring more awareness and resources to the cause and inspiring a new generation of breast cancer supporters.

This video is only way of the many creative advertisements for the Rethink Breast Cancer campaign, other outlets include: Support Saturdays, Breast Fest Film Festival, TellHER2.ca, appropriate print advertisements (ie. Chatelaine, Canadian Living, etc), and other partnerships (ie. American Eagle, Telus, Blackberry, O.P.I., Rebook, etc.

(abrubacher, 2013)




How to use Stages of Change

This presentation provides information about the stages of change model of behaviour change.


To help get a better understanding of how it works, it has been applied to trying to increase the amount of sleep you get.