I’ve noticed an increased emphasis over the last two years at the CDC’s National Conference on Health Communication, Marketing and Media on the importance of storytelling for creating an emotional response that stimulates change.
This year, workshop titles included “Story-telling, Innovative Technology, Comic Books, and HIV/STI Prevention,” “Going Viral – CDC’s Zombie Apocalypse,” “Connecting with Underserved Audiences Through Digital Storytelling,” and “The Power of Storytelling to Reach and Facilitate Change in Communities and Diverse Audiences.”
I’ve had an ongoing conversation with social marketer Nedra Weinreich about the impact of storytelling, and while at the CDC conference I asked her to speak for a minute about its importance for public health researchers.
Once upon a time, it was Nedra who was my go-to source for interesting knowledge translation insights. Just lately, Susannah Fox has been on a roll, and I’m bringing her back today.
She tweets about a blog on WebMD about a bipolar patient who reconceived how to treat his disorder, and then points to the continuing comments on her blog post about alpha geeks in health care, where Mariellen Gilpin writes movingly about taking her mental health care into her own hands.
What these two stories have in common is the power of narrative to illuminate and persuade. The bare facts are just the bare facts. Humans have thousands of years of history using storytelling to impart deep learning. When did we forget this, and have you remembered to tell a story rather than recite facts in your research?