YouTube launches program to foster health influencers
YouTube launched two initiatives to promote the access and dissemination of reliable and accurate health information on its platform. The first initiative, called the THE-IQ Creator Program will support healthcare content creators to educate diverse audiences on various health issues. Successful applicants will be awarded $10,000 each to advance their content creation, as well as access to workshops on video production and YouTube’s best practices.
The Creator Program expands upon last year’s THE-IQ, an acronym for Tackling Health Equity Through Information Quality — which relied on partnerships with nonprofits like The Loveland Foundation, Reproductive Health Impact, and health policy research institute KFF.
The google subsidiary also announced they are testing and refining Aloud, an AI-powered tool to dub videos in multiple languages. They will be partnering with Mass General Brigham, The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), and the Global Health Media Project to dub their health content in Spanish and Portuguese, with a plan to add more languages and creators in the future.
The YouTube Health team will collaborate with healthcare professionals in overseeing the translation process, although the final say on the dubbed video will remain with the creators.
The combined efforts of the IQ Creator Program and the Aloud pilot aim to break down language barriers and reach varied communities, thereby disseminating reliable health information to diverse audiences.
“Health content creators are transforming how health information is delivered and shared globally,” said Garth Graham, global head of YouTube Health, “Not only are creators turning complex medical topics into engaging and informative videos, but research has shown how racial and cultural representation play an important role in helping people trust health information online.”
Graham refers to a study from July that showed Black adults exhibited a markedly higher level of trust in videos featuring a Black presenter compared to those with a White presenter. There are 13.6% of Black Americans, but only 5.7% of Black doctors, Black people represent 13.6% of Americans but only 5.7% of American doctors, which experts say has a negative impact on health equity. By fostering and investing in diverse health content creators, YouTube aims to bridge the health equity gap.
THE-IQ and beyond
Late last year, YouTube began efforts to legitimize their healthcare content by offering an application process that would have health content creators’ channels verified. Content from verified channels is labeled distinctly and shelved above unverified content.
In the era of medical misinformation, YouTube is positioning itself away from other social media sites while embracing the changing landscape of health information distribution.
“Gone are the days of billboards and handouts for sharing public health information,” said Graham. “Today, patients are turning to digital spaces for information about their health journeys, and the medical community needs to meet them where they are with high quality health content from a diverse range of voices.”