Digital Storytelling in Support of Health Outreach (Shot By Shot)

My friend, Shannon Murphy, just sent me the link to Shot by Shot.

Shot by Shot
Shot by Shot:

You’ve already heard a bit about my story with pertussis (whooping cough). Believe it or not, it is still happening. Last week, one of the medical librarians I work with told me she knew she didn’t have whooping cough because her cough didn’t make that characteristic whooping sound (which is one of the biggest myths associated with the disease). It turned out she caught her cold from her toddler daughter, and her daughter also doesn’t have the “whoop,” which is much more relevant than whether the mom does or not. Countless times this past winter, after I recovered from my bout with pertussis, I heard people on the bus with the irritating insuppressible tickle-in-the-back-of-the-throat cough that says to me “adult with pertussis.” What are you going to do at that point? Everyone on the bus has been exposed already, and they don’t know it any more than the person with the cough knows it. Who is on their way to work, where they will expose the rest of the people they know. The public health department has already announced that we are the center of an epidemic of whooping cough, but everyone believes their vaccine or the neighbors’ vaccines are up to date and they are safe. But they aren’t.

Shot By Shot is a brilliant application of digital storytelling to this issue. They literally have collected stories and videos from around the world, in different countries and cultures, all looking at the lives of people who could have been safe, and should have been, just like the people riding the bus with me last winter. Here is one of those stories, a young woman who came down with whooping cough just before she delivered her baby, but she didn’t know she had whooping cough.

You can find many more stories at the Shot By Shot website, or in their Youtube channel. While you check them out, think about other ways in which people’s lives could be changed or saved by digital storytelling.

Shot By Shot:
Shot By Shot Stories:


4 responses to “Digital Storytelling in Support of Health Outreach (Shot By Shot)

  1. Carol Perryman

    I love this! However, I am sensitized to a real problem with such resources by having a deaf student: neither she, nor others like her, can benefit from this. We need to promote a standard for resource development of podcasts and all other resources with audio content, where simultaneous, full, transcripts are made available.


    • I absolutely agree about accessibility issues being critical. What I’ve found, though, in some patient communities, is that making the transcripts a requirement ends up meaning that no one does anything. That broke my heart, so see excited engaged people with stories and information to share, who then go sadly and quietly to a corner because they feel that the way that they can share is not acceptable. I find myself torn. Is there a way we can encourage people to contribute inclusively? And the perhaps enlist community help to crowdsource making media resources accessible to the deaf, and making print resources accessible to the dyslexic? Balance …


  2. Carol Perryman

    I definitely understand your concern about such a requirement being a barrier to action, and agree that sharing stories is important in any medium – far preferable to silence!. But perhaps organizations concerned with enabling patient voices should also consider accessibility as a priority. Another issue that may be associated is that (so far as I know) audio/podcast is not searchable.

    It’s actually something I’ve noticed in making conference talks available, and there is a similar barrier in terms of the time that would be required. I am grateful that my student has sensitized me to this problem, because I wouldn’t have thought twice about it otherwise: a regional medlib organization has made audio available, but my student, who is interested in medical librarianship, cannot benefit from these resources. Understandably, the time and cost of transcription is prohibitive – but because of this, I have refrained from sharing a link with my class.


  3. Pingback: Risk Bites: Making Common Risks Easily Understood | Emerging Technologies Librarian

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