Health Systems Research Seminar Series presents: "Are Online Communities Good for our Health? State of the Evidence and Future Directions"
Friday, March 4, 2016, 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Jackie Bender, PhD
Dalla Lana School of Public Health
University of Toronto
- Friday, March 4, 2016
- 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
- Faculty of Arts
Ottawa, Ontario K1N 6N5
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About the Presentation
Health related online communities are social networks people use on the Internet to share health experiences, and to give and get support. They may be discussion forums, blogs, and social media like Facebook and Twitter. Some online communities are moderated by community managers or health professionals; others are not. Many studies suggest the information and support shared in online communities helps patients and families by reducing feelings of isolation and depression, and enhancing coping and self-management of health issues. But online communities are not risk free, some evidence suggests that some may cause distress. In this seminar, Dr. Bender will present the state of the evidence on the potential benefits and harms of online communities for health, drawing on health behavior theory to explain their underlying mechanisms, and discuss implications for policy, practice and future research.
About the Speaker
Dr. Bender is a social and behavioral health scientist. She is a Research Scientist at the ELLICSR Health, Wellness and Cancer Survivorship Centre, and the Centre for Global eHealth Innovation at the University Health Network, and an Assistant Professor in the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto. Her research focuses on designing and evaluating ways to improve the health and health care experience of people affected by cancer through the use of social support and information and communication technologies. Dr. Bender has presented and published extensively on the topic of online communities and social media for health, and is considered an expert in the field.