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NIH Twitter Chats: Collaborations Multiply Successes

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The Digital Strategy challenges the federal government to do more with less.  Twitter chats offer many organizations that opportunity, because they allow offices to quickly and cheaply work with stakeholders. The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) is making Twitter Chats work even better by partnering with other offices to make great chats even more successful, through collaboration.

Photograph of NIH teams work together on their seasonal allergies Twitter Chat Monday, April 29.NCCAM, part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), has been hosting monthly Twitter Chats since March 2012. The topics of these chats have covered a wide variety of complementary health approaches including:

  • Yoga
  • Meditation
  • Acupuncture
  • Dietary supplements

Over the past six months, this Twitter Chat program has evolved to include partnerships with other NIH Institutes and Centers on topics that overlap with their research portfolios. These relationships have proved mutually beneficial.

In December 2012, a chat on stress and anxiety led to one of NCCAM’s most successful chats to date with 10,626,725 impressions. These figures reflect the number of users engaging in the chat, along with the total number of followers all of those users reach through their accounts. Its success could also be gauged by the chat’s overall activity, as participants retweeted information, asked questions, and shared resources.

In February 2013 for the annual Heart Health Month observance, NCCAM collaborated with the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute on a chat about high cholesterol,  and in April, they hosted a chat on seasonal allergies with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

These collaborations have really been helpful for building ties within the NIH community as well as for disseminating messages across audiences. In addition, these chats share evidence-based information about complementary therapies, and about the disease or condition. Content experts from both participating organizations, generally researchers and health professionals, participated in crafting scripts prior to the chat and responding to questions during the event. Each organization could take the lead within their sphere of expertise.  In addition, the messages were amplified by the participation of Twitter followers from all organizations.

By coordinating with other offices, NCCAM has made a successful Twitter Chat series even better.

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What other topics would you like coordinated Twitter Chats on?

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