October 27, 2013

UAB conference brings together social media and wellness experts

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The second annual Innovations in Wellness conference will offer two days with two great topics; the time to register for this event is now as space is limited.
With the vast resources of the Internet, it is hard not to come across the health tips that abound online. Sorting out the right information from the wrong can be difficult. Likewise, navigating social media can present challenges to users — new and old.

To help cultivate more informed consumers in either the social media or the health world — or both — University of Alabama at Birmingham Wellness is hosting the second annual Innovations in Wellness Conference on Nov. 19-20, at the UAB Alumni House, 1301 10th Ave. South.

The conference will feature two days with separate focuses. The first day will be all about social media, with some of the best users in Birmingham teaching the intricacies of the various online communication channels through case studies.

Day two of the event will present the latest insights into the understanding of well-being from UAB physicians and practitioners to educate health and wellness leaders, as well as enthusiasts. Both days are open to anyone interested in attending, and participants may choose to attend either one or both days. 

“Embracing health cannot be a standalone objective,” said Lauren Whitt, Ph.D., UAB Wellness director. “It has to be integrated into the places we already get our information. In today’s culture, our employees are online on blogs and on social feeds, so we use those channels to communicate knowledge, events and health challenges.”

Having seen the impact the use of social media could have on improving health through her Windows into Wellness blog, which reached 100,000 views in less than nine months, Whitt had the idea to grow the conference into a two-in-one event.

“I wish I had had the opportunity to hear the lineup of speakers we’ve put together when I launched my social media sites, because their experiences will dramatically decrease your learning curve,” Whitt said. “These speakers will inform on creating a content strategy in a marketing campaign around your social media sites, as well as share insights on growing followers, engaging interactions with users and improving sales.”

This year’s event will also highlight a new slate of UAB experts, who will provide scientific, technical and business perspectives on applying wellness to the individual, to the workplace or beyond.

“Our health experts will be sharing key information that we need in our families and in our businesses; they will have specific takeaways that can be immediately implemented and shared,” Whitt said. “Health educators, wellness directors, those working in the area of fitness or nutrition without a medical degree, and even those who are just interested in the topic will benefit from this opportunity to understand how behavioral strategies relate to chronic diseases and connect to overall health.”

Whitt says, with health insurance making daily headlines, UAB’s experts can offer an upstream approach to well-being.

“As we as a nation are facing a variety of health care changes, this conference is the opportunity to gain an understanding of how various components of health work together, which is a timely topic for many of us,” Whitt said.

Medical speakers will include Wendy Demark-Wahnefried, M.D., associate director for Cancer Prevention and Control at the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center, Stephen Russell, M.D., associate professor in the Division of General Internal Medicine, and Andrea Cherrington, M.D., associate professor in the Division of Preventive Medicine.

Social media speakers will include Wes Wyatt, Fox 6 WBRC weather, Javacia Harris Browser, founder of See Jane Write, Matt Hooper, American Heart Association – Central Alabama, and Nick Dobreff, Birmingham Barons.

Space is limited for both days of the conference, so those interested should head to the conference website, http://www.uabiw13.blogspot.com/, to register now.
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