Network Staff in First Agency-Wide “I AM: Trans People Speak” Video, also Great Public Health Tool


Imageby Emilia Dunham

Guest Blogger / Former Network Staff / The Fenway Institute Study Coordinator

I am very pleased to announce the release of Fenway Health’s contribution to the  “I AM: Trans People Speak” campaign, which I coordinated through my new study for young transgender women, the LifeSkills project of The Fenway Institute.

ImageIf you’re not familiar, the “I AM” project is an amazingly powerful campaign raising awareness about the diversity that exists within transgender communities. It gives a voice to transgender individuals, as well as their families, friends, and allies. In the video’s premier, I hosted at Fenway, LifeSkills Investigator Sari Reisner discusses how it is also a brilliant public health campaign.

Research shows how projects like the “I AM” videos are fantastic examples of how media campaigns are widely recognized as useful public health tools, and that focused, well-executed health media campaigns can change some health knowledge, beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors. (Randolph & Viswanath, 2004) (Noar, 2006) – Sari Reisner, 11/14/2012

Demonstrating the impact of this campaign, our event listing and video were cross-posted in multiple locations including MTPC, GLAADBoston.comThe Rainbow Times and GLAAD! Even more significantly, major news outlets like CBS have picked up the campaign! A few professors and students have mentioned their plans to use in their classrooms as well. Just think about the incredible impact this campaign could have!

Making this fun, moving and theoretically informed video even better, the Network’s own Daniella Matthews-Trigg, Gustavo Torrez and *your’s truly* appear at various points in the video! As you know the Network is all about how the effects of social media can be tools for advocacy in public health, and this is a prime example that’s just in time for Transgender Awareness Week. It’s ok if you watch just to see our lovely faces, but also consider sending around to your friends, family, classmate/students and colleagues for your part in Transgender Awareness Week or make your own video after watching some on the website.

As we see how even the White House is recognizing Transgender Awareness Week, and that folks like Scout have a seat at the White House table for trans policy initiatives, it’s important to have positive public health tools like this campaign to help educate along the way.

Noar SM. (2006). A 10-year retrospective of research in health mass media campaigns: Where do we go from here? Journal of Health Communication, 11, 21-42.

Randolph W, Viswanath K. (2004). Lessons learned from public health mass media campaigns: Marketing health in a crowded media world. Annual Review of Public Health, 25, 419-437.

Published by Emilia Dunham, MPP, MBA

Emilia Dunham is currently a Project Manager at MassHealth/Department of Public Health, and formerly the Project Manager of the Life Skills project at The Fenway Institute, an HIV intervention study for young transgender women. Emilia worked at Fenway for 7 years, first as a Quality Control and Regulatory Assistant mainly involved with biomedical HIV prevention trials, before serving as the Program Associate for The Network for LGBT Health Equity, a network instrumental in many national LGBT health policy improvements. She is also involved with the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition, serving as a Steering Committee member and the Policy Committee Co-Chair, an organization largely responsible for the recent passage of the Trans Rights Bill. Additionally she serves as a member of the Massachusetts Commission on Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Youth, Co-Chair of the Recommendations Committee. Emilia received a Bachelor’s degree from Northeastern University. There she served as President of the LGBTQ student group where she planned programs such as Pride Week, Transgender Day of Remembrance, and AIDS Week. In addition, she advocated for LGBTQ inclusive policies and programming on campus such as a Gender Neutral Housing program, an LGBTQ Center and the expansion of Women’s Studies to Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies. Emilia recently earned a Master of Public Policy and Master of Business Administration in health policy and management from the Brandeis Heller School School for Social Policy and Management.

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