The Use of Social Media to Provide Health Education to the Underserved Community
Due to Arizona’s large uninsured population, the medical students at the University of Arizona College of Medicine-Tucson (UACOM-T) have created a large network of student-run free clinics for the underserved and uninsured in southern Arizona. With their opening in April 2020, the Integrative Medicine Clinic is the newest UACOM-T clinic that aims to increase access to integrative care and address local health disparities. In addition to providing care, the clinic strives to provide high quality and easily understandable health information to the community in the hopes of using a preventative approach to decrease co-morbidities, such as hypertension and type II diabetes mellitus.
Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, their clinic moved to an online format, which proved difficult to conduct our education sessions. Rather than conducting virtual Zoom education sessions, they started using Instagram as their way to build their reputation in the community and to provide easily accessible health information, such as sleep hygiene, stress management, and immune health. This article serves to provide insight on their strategy using social media for preventative health promotion for the underserved community, as well as the benefits of incorporating community education into the mission of student-run free clinics.