Studies have shown that it takes 17 years on average for research findings to translate into improvements in clinical care. That’s a long time for a child in pain to wait, Christine Chambers, PhD, told attendees at a symposium on children’s health on Thursday.

In an effort to move child health research off the shelf and into practice sooner, Chambers, a clinical psychologist and professor of pediatrics, psychology and neuroscience at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, has partnered with several other health researchers and the Yummy Mummy Club (YMC), a group of Canadian “mommy bloggers.” They created a social media campaign dedicated to increasing parent’s use of evidence-based knowledge on children’s pain.

shotsThe “It Doesn’t Have to Hurt” social media campaign (#itdoesnthavetohurt), led by the Centre for Pediatric Pain Research, where Chambers also holds an appointment, launches on Sept. 15. It will include a year of targeted sharing and discussion of content about children’s pain, using blogs, videos, Twitter parties, Facebook polls and social media images, all posted and promoted on the Yummy Mummy Club website and through social media.

Chambers already has had success using social media to improve parental behavior around pediatric pain. Last year, she developed a YouTube video providing parents with evidence-based strategies to help children better handle shots. She also posted the video on Facebook and delivered a TEDx talk on the topic, moves that led to almost 150,000 YouTube views in 120 countries. Chambers also conducted a parental survey on the video and found that after watching the video, parents felt more confident in how to help their children deal with shots and were likely to use the video’s tips, including distracting the child with videos and games and having them blow bubbles before a shot to promote deep breathing.

“There’s a Pew Research Center survey that came out just last month showing that parents are really heavily using social media for parenting advice,” Chamber said. “It’s so important for us to work together to use these powerful tools to make sure our good research evidence reaches families sooner.”

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