Each week, Rx4good will highlight a non-profit that has registered to participate in MatchUp4good, a partnership with the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA). MatchUp4good matches non-profits in need of social media counsel with WOMMA member companies willing to give pro bono support (http://www.womma.org/matchup4good/). This week, we focus on Text4baby.
Soon-to-be mothers and new moms are finally getting the message – literally, via SMS texts. With the U.S. infant-mortality rate ranked 30th worldwide (worse than Hungary and Cuba), the National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition decided to do something about it and started the innovative Text4baby campaign.
Text4baby (link) promotes maternal and child health by sending free text messages in English or Spanish to pregnant and new moms three times a week throughout their pregnancy as well as into the baby’s first year. Rx4good had the pleasure of speaking with Judy Meehan, executive director of the National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition to learn more.
Rx4good: What prompted the creation of Text4baby? What tipping points led to the idea and its execution?
Meehan: Text4baby came about because of the shocking U.S. infant-mortality rate (which is dismal) and the trends in mobile phone use. Mobile health and the SMS text platform are being used all over the world. Women of child-bearing age use text messaging extensively, and African American women use text messaging more than anybody else. Because this population is particularly vulnerable to high infant mortality rates, Text4baby seemed like a natural way to communicate about health. The campaign’s success is due in large part to the model in which it was built– essentially teaming the private and public sectors together. Today, we have over 200 organizational partners in Text4baby.
Rx4good: What successes have you had to date?
Meehan: This easy-to-access “nurse in a purse” currently reaches more than 34,000 women – 95% of them said that they would recommend our campaign to a friend. That’s in just three months of launching. We know these texts have sparked conversations between the women and their healthcare professionals so we know the campaign is working. But our goal is to prove it works.
Another proud achievement is that our public/private sector model has had an unprecedented success – the structured outreach of our organizational partners is a powerful mix that enables positive change to occur at lightning speed. Our sponsors, Johnson and Johnson, WellPoint, Pfizer and CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield gave us a tremendous start to get this off the ground. Other core partners include Voxiva, HHS, CTIA The Wireless Foundation, MTV – to name just a few. We’re proud and extremely grateful to have the tremendous support of these organizations, one of particular note, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.
Rx4good: What do you hope to achieve in the short and long term?
Meehan: We’re looking for more key partnerships with organizations that share like-minded goals. Currently, we cater to the English and Spanish speaking audiences, but we’d like to grow into more languages as well as carry our message further as the baby enters into his/her second year. Also, right now we’re advocating for a spin-off module, targeting fathers. We are planning a robust evaluation effort to prove, in the long run, that not only does our partnership model work, but also that text messaging in mobile health is effective so other health campaigns can build on this concept.
Rx4good: How has social media been instrumental to your success? What do you want to gain from MatchUp4good?
Meehan: This is perfect timing for us because we are looking to build a more comprehensive digital advocacy strategy. We have had success on facebook and Twitter, but we’re looking for additional expertise to grow in this area. We’ve had spikes in our membership when we’ve obtained publicity from ‘Dr. Drew’ on MTV and its ‘16 and Pregnant’ television show, so maybe we could build onto those initiatives as well. We’re open to suggestions and interested in out-of-the-box thinking.
Rx4good: What is your greatest wish for Text4baby?
Meehan: Every woman wants to give her baby the best possible start in life. Unfortunately, not every woman has equal access to care and resources that she can understand and use. Text4baby can literally put solid science in the hands of those who need it most. My hope is that all pregnant women and new moms will be able to take advantage of what Text4baby offers.
Jessie Fream, Rx4good