Communicating Vaccines, a pharmacy elective course, focuses on identification, prevention and control of infectious diseases that pose threats to public health. Students in the class were not only tasked with completing reading assignments but with producing their own videos to promote positive information about vaccines.
“This class provided me with the tools to be able to talk to a vaccine hesitant parent or patient and answer any questions, dispel myths and ensure they have all the necessary and accurate information to make the best decision. I definitely feel more comfortable engaging with these patients and having a discussion about vaccines,” said Erin Tibbetts, a 5th year pharmacy major from Tewksbury, MA.
Students were split into six teams, and each was assigned to answer a vaccine related question in a 90-to-120-second video. The student pharmacist teams conducted research, drafted and finalized a storyboard for the filming and editing, and wrote a script for the actors. They also prepared voice-overs, and text for the videos. A national pro-vaccine parents group worked with the students and featured one of the videos on its website.
“This is the fifth time my class has partnered with film studies students,” Bratberg said. The pharmacy students produced the content, while the film studies students did all the technical work. The pharmacy students learned what it is like to have a producer and the film students learned what it was like to work with someone who is their vendor for their product.”
The six teams were asked to collaboratively draft, edit, finalize, and distribute written, video, and/or audio marketing content suitable for social media, television, or advertising that highlights prevention of, preparedness for, or response to a public health infectious disease concern. The specific questions the teams had to answer focused on the safety of vaccines, vaccine-preventable disease outbreaks, ingredients in vaccines and the importance of vaccines.
“Our video project was a 2-minute long public service announcement on the ingredients in vaccines and correcting the myths surrounding this issue. The video was set up to show a concerned parent questioning her doctor on whether she should vaccinate her child due to all the ‘chemicals and toxicities’ included in vaccines. We gave examples of common ingredients such as formaldehyde and explained a person metabolizes more formaldehyde eating a pear than all the vaccines they will receive in their lifetime,” said Jada Taglione, a 5th year pharmacy student from Westerly, R.I.
Through their work on the video project, students realized the importance of public health and pharmacy promotion through old and new media formats.
“Pharmacy students are very motivated. This is an elective class that they selected. They heard what we did before so I always try to do something different. I had not done a video project in this class before for this specific reason. I thought, well I am originally from Minnesota and Voices for Vaccines is located there so I sent an email and asked if they wanted my students to produce content for them,” said Bratberg.
The Voices for Vaccines Parent Advisory Board previewed the videos and gave parent-centered feedback to the students. The board reviewed the draft storyboards and scripts and sent edits back for finalizing before the teams worked with one of three film studies students to shoot, edit, and assemble the videos. Once the videos, were complete they were posted on the Voices for Vaccines YouTube channel.
“I think the most important point I took away from this class is the impact that a pharmacist can have on a patient’s decision to vaccinate. As pharmacists on the front lines, we can educate patients about the important role vaccines have in keeping everyone healthy even those people too young to be vaccinated or too sick to be vaccinated,” said Tibbetts. “From the class discussions to the video project, this class was truly one of the best classes I have taken at URI and I am so thankful that we are able to learn from Dr. Bratberg. I know that this class will stay with me during my pharmacy career.”
To view the entire list of student made videos click on the link below:
URI Video Projects
This release was written by Caitlin Musselman, a URI Marketing and Communications intern and a public relations and political science major.