Florida Prevention Research Center and colleagues publish article on the use of social media to improve teen asthma care

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The Florida Prevention Research Center, the USF Social Marketing Group, and the Morsani College of Medicine Department of Pediatrics are collaborating on a study using social marketing principles to talk with teens and their caregivers.  Specifically, the research examines the benefits and barriers to asthma control, explores the technological strategies used for asthma care, and addresses the value of technology-based tools for chronic disease management.  The information for this study will drive the development of technological solutions to asthma care tailored specifically to this age group.

The results of Phase 1 of this study were published as “Adolescent Asthma Self-Management: Patient and Parent-Caregiver Perspectives on Using Social Media to Improve Care” in the December issue of the Journal of School Health.

The USF College of Public Health is the parent organization for the Florida Prevention Research Center (FPRC). Its mission is to develop, implement and evaluate evidence-based approaches to strengthen community capacity for sustained disease prevention and health promotion. The Florida Prevention Research Center is designated as one of 37 Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Centers in the nation funded by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Department of Community and Family Health is the academic home for the FPRC.  The department offers more than 10 concentrations that lead to MPH, MSPH, DrPH, and PhD degrees, as well as dual degrees, special programs, and an online graduate certificate in social marketing


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Adolescent Asthma Self-Management: Patient and Parent-Caregiver Perspectives on Using Social Media to Improve Care

Anthony D. Panzera MPH,  Tali K. Schneider MPH, CHES,  Mary P. Martinasek PhD, James H. Lindenberger BA,  Marisa Couluris DO, Carol A. Bryant PhD,  Robert J. McDermott PhD, FASHA



Self-management of asthma can now leverage new media technologies. To optimize implementation they must employ a consumer-oriented developmental approach. This study explored benefits of and barriers to improved asthma self-management and identified key elements for the development of a digital media tool to enhance asthma control.


Between August 2010 and January 2011, 18 teens with asthma and 18 parent-caregivers participated in semi-structured in-depth interviews to identify mechanisms for improving asthma self-management and propose characteristics for developing a digital media tool to aid such efforts.


Teens and caregivers enumerated physician-recommended strategies for asthma management as well as currently employed strategies. Both groups thought of a potential digital media solution as positive, but indicated specific design requirements for such a solution to have utility. Whereas most participants perceived mobile platforms to be viable modes to improve asthma self-management, interest in having social networking capabilities was mixed.


A digital media product capable of tracking conditions, triggers, and related asthma activities can be a core element of improved asthma control for youth. Improved asthma control will help decrease school absenteeism.

Written by Mahmooda Pasha, USF College of Public Health