How "Community" Matters: Uncovering the Social Dynamics of Health Information Behavior in Everyday Life
Access to health information is, unfortunately, differential in communities across the United States. And those groups who have the most difficulty obtaining needed information are often those who experience worse health outcomes ("health disparities"). However, little is known about health information seeking, sharing, and use in marginalized communities. This talk presents findings from a series of community-based studies that aim to answer the question, "How does community/family affiliation matter for access to, and use of, health information?" Results are presented from studies conducted with rural Canadians, urban African Americans, gay/bisexual men, and patient groups confronting chronic disease.
Tiffany C. E. Veinot, MLS, PhD, is an assistant professor in the University of Michigan's School of Information, with a cross-appointment at the School of Public Health, Department of Health Behavior and Health Education. Veinot's research focuses on community health informatics. Specific themes in this research area include: 1) understanding health information acquisition, sharing, and use within communities and families; 2) appropriation/domestication of health information technologies within communities and families; and 3) investigating potential associations between health/psychosocial outcomes and socio-technically mediated health information. Her current research projects focus on the role of information in how families manage chronic illness; community health informatics interventions for HIV and STI prevention with marginalized youth; community health information infrastructures in urban communities; and understanding and enhancing peer-based information and support exchange among patients with kidney disease. Veinot's published research has garnered awards from the Journal of Documentation, Canadian Association of Information Science (CAIS), the American Society for Information Science & Technology (ASIS&T) - SIG USE, and the Association for Library and Information Science Education (ALISE). Veinot is a member of the Biomedical Library and Informatics Review Committee (BLIRC) at the National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health and recently served as proceedings chair for the ACM International Conference on Health Informatics. She is also a peer reviewer for journals such as the Journal of the American Society for Information Science & Technology, Information Research, The Journal of Rural Health and the Journal of Adolescent Health. Prior to pursuing her doctoral studies, Veinot spent four years as director, information services at Education Wife Assault. In recognition of her leadership in the nonprofit sector, she has received several awards, including being featured in Who's Who of Canadian Women. Drawing from her professional experience and research, Veinot teaches courses in management and health information systems and services.