Empowering Health Care Workers on Social Media to Bolster Trust in Science and Vaccination During the Pandemic: Making IMPACT Using a Place-Based Approach

Shikha Jain, Serena R. Dhaon, Shivani Majmudar, Laura J. Zimmermann, Lisa Mordell, Garth Walker, Amisha Wallia, Halleh Akbarnia, Ali Khan, Eve Dana Pfanzelter, Vineet M. Arora

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: Given the widespread and concerted efforts to propagate health misinformation on social media, particularly centered around vaccination during the pandemic, many groups of clinicians and scientists were organized on social media to tackle misinformation and promote vaccination, using a national or international lens. Although documenting the impact of such social media efforts, particularly at the community level, can be challenging, a more hyperlocal or "place-based approach"for social media campaigns could be effective in tackling misinformation and improving public health outcomes at a community level. Objective: We aimed to describe and document the effectiveness of a place-based strategy for a coordinated group of Chicago health care workers on social media to tackle misinformation and improve vaccination rates in the communities they serve. Methods: The Illinois Medical Professionals Action Collaborative Team (IMPACT) was founded in March 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, with representatives from major academic teaching hospitals in Chicago (eg, University of Chicago, Northwestern University, University of Illinois, and Rush University) and community-based organizations. Through crowdsourcing on multiple social media platforms (eg, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram) with a place-based approach, IMPACT engaged grassroots networks of thousands of Illinois health care workers and the public to identify gaps, needs, and viewpoints to improve local health care delivery during the pandemic. Results: To address vaccine misinformation, IMPACT created 8 "myth debunking"infographics and a "vaccine information series"of 14 infographics that have generated >340,000 impressions and informed the development of vaccine education for the Chicago Public Libraries. IMPACT delivered 13 policy letters focusing on different topics, such as health care worker personal protective equipment, universal masking, and vaccination, with >4000 health care workers signatures collected through social media and delivered to policy makers; it published over 50 op-eds on COVID-19 topics in high-impact news outlets and contributed to >200 local and national news features. Using the crowdsourcing approach on IMPACT social media channels, IMPACT mobilized health care and lay volunteers to staff >400 vaccine events for >120,000 individuals, many in Chicago's hardest-hit neighborhoods. The group's recommendations have influenced public health awareness campaigns and initiatives, as well as research, advocacy, and policy recommendations, and they have been recognized with local and national awards. Conclusions: A coordinated group of health care workers on social media, using a hyperlocal place-based approach, can not only work together to address misinformation but also collaborate to boost vaccination rates in their surrounding communities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere38949
JournalJournal of medical Internet research
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2022


  • COVID-19
  • advocacy
  • community health
  • health care worker
  • health policy
  • infodemic
  • infodemiology
  • infographic
  • misinformation
  • place-based
  • policy maker
  • social media
  • vaccination

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics


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