Three UTC MPH students collaborated with the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Health Department on a social media campaign to promote social distancing. The community-wide campaign uses the hashtag #AloneTogetherCHA on social media platforms including Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Amid the public health pandemic of COVID-19, health professionals are urging community members to practice social distancing. Social distancing is the act of deliberately increasing the physical space between individuals to prevent the spread of infectious disease. This practice, though essential in reducing the spread of COVID-19, requires significant adjustments to everyday life. In an effort to increase awareness of social distancing in our community, the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Health Department reached out to the UTC MPH program to partner on a student-led social media campaign opportunity. The goal of the campaign is to promote social distancing and highlight the positive aspects of the practice in an enjoyable and engaging method using a variety of social media platforms.

Ms. Paula Collier, Health Promotion Program Manager for the Hamilton County Health Department, is the campaign supervisor guiding the UTC MPH students in promoting social distancing with different communities in Hamilton County. The three MPH students leading the campaign include Kimberly Reid (Class of 2020), Rosetta Loeser and Taylor Moore (Class of 2021). Each student is responsible for engaging a specific age group (18-22, 23-26, and 27-35 years old) and promoting the hashtag #AloneTogetherCHA. Through this campaign, our students encourage social distancing while working to reduce the negative effects from limited physical contact with others. This is achieved through the production of informative and interactive content such as hash-tagging, virtual games and challenges, home fitness, video skits, and photo sharing. We invite you to check out the content at: @AloneTogetherCHA, Alone Together Chattanooga, and Alone2getherCHA.

Our MPH students provided weekly reports to the health department with an overview of their weekly activities (i.e., number of new followers, likes, and shares), while describing lessons learned and strategies for implementing new messages for the following week. The reports were reviewed by Ms. Collier and shared with the Health Department’s Communications team. Overall, the Health Department has been very impressed with the efforts of our students and hope to continue with the campaign throughout the summer. We are very thankful for this incredible partnership and the opportunity offered to our students by the Hamilton County Health Department.

Feedback provided by the individuals involved in this campaign include:

Kimberly Reid, MPH 2020 Candidate

“Knowing the negative impacts of social isolation, I was excited to be a part of a campaign that emphasized togetherness while still promoting physical distancing. Social media outlets are wonderful tools for connecting community members as well as promoting reliable information about COVID-19. Our team learned a lot about effective ways to engage various age groups and I feel we were able to shine a light on a challenging situation. I am grateful for the experience to help others (and myself) navigate this unusual time.”

 Taylor Moore, MPH 2021 Candidate

“The social media campaign has been exciting for me to raise awareness of social distancing and encourage the residents of Chattanooga to maintain healthy lifestyles.  I am grateful for the opportunity to create positive content that can inspire individuals to stay safe and productive at home during this time.”

Rosetta Loeser, MPH 2021 Candidate

“Participating in the Alone Together Chattanooga social media campaign was highly rewarding. This experience has been a ‘once in a lifetime opportunity’ to assist with countywide outreach efforts amid the COVID-19 pandemic. I am thankful for the opportunity to collaborate with the Hamilton County Health Department in the outreach effort.”

Paula Collier, Health Promotion Program Manager, Hamilton County Health Department

“The Hamilton County Health Department partnered with UTC MPH students to create a COVID-19 social distancing media campaign targeting young adults. The students created educational and interactive material, reported metrics, and attended meetings via Zoom. Strong partnerships like this benefit the community.”