Storytelling for Health


I am WAY behind on my getting livetweeting sessions into the blog. I’ve been asked in particular for this one, so the first installment of catching up, I hope.

UN SPH Storytelling event opening slide

Last month I was lucky to attend one of the most splendid short workshops I’ve ever seen. Or it might be that I appreciated it so much because it was so timely, dovetailing with a project we’re just beginning but which I’m really excited about. The focus of the session, “Tell me a story: Designing narratives for health behavior change,” was on storytelling for health behavior change and was held at the University of Michigan School of Public Health.

It was a phenomenal gathering of speakers and thinkers on storytelling, leaving me inspired and almost over-charged with excitement. The presenters included professionals from the film, television, and comics industries, sharing personal experiences and best practices, then opening up with a dynamic and helpful question and answer session.


Here are the videos, which I’ve rearranged in the actual order of the presentations.


World-Class Storytellers: Designing Narratives for Health Behavior Change (part 1 of 4, Monte Montgomery) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S3m3ugmKwC0


World-Class Storytellers: Designing Narratives for Health Behavior Change (part 4 of 4, Mike Mosallam) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oVggFZ7WOSk


World-Class Storytellers: Designing Narratives for Health Behavior Change (part 2 of 4, Kody Chamberlain) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=af4_HVOgo4c


World-Class Storytellers: Designing Narratives for Health Behavior Change (part 3 of 4, Q&A) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rJDYy2wobwE


Here are the tweets, lightly edited for typos, links, minor fixes, and such.


pfanderson At @umsph for #storytelling Excited!!! (@ University of Michigan School of Public Health w/ @wnderingglutton) [pic]: http://t.co/29D8bGCx

KodyChamberlain RT @pfanderson: At @umsph for #storytelling Excited!!! (@ University of Michigan School of Public Health w/ @wnderingglutton) [pic]: http://t.co/29D8bGCx

Monte Montgomery

pfanderson With @2020science at #storytelling “Tell me a story: Designing narratives for health behavior change” http://t.co/97evRSn2

KodyChamberlain About to present to tge University of Michigan School of Public Health #storytelling good crowd. http://t.co/XNvnebOu

pfanderson Presenters at #storytelling @KodyChamberlain @mikemosallam and @BestcatMonte Intros from Vic Strecher

pfanderson Tip fr @BestcatMonte “Never let someone else tell your story” #storytelling

pfanderson Tip from @KodyChamberlain “Always choose the image that happens a split SECOND after action.” #storytelling

MLibraryHealthy A story should be 4 things:engaging, understandable, memorable, and engaging. #storytelling

pfanderson #storytelling Stories should be: Engaging, Understandable, Memorable, Actionable @BestcatMonte 3 act structure for films http://t.co/fqqG0RYi

pfanderson RT @MLibraryHealthy: A story should be 4 things:engaging, understandable, memorable, and engaging. #storytelling

YMazloomdoost RT @pfanderson: With @2020science at #storytelling “Tell me a story: Designing narratives for health behavior change” http://t.co/97evRSn2

pfanderson Three acts as building of story arc & tension. Leveling the story. Wizard of Oz as example, Jerry McGuire. #storytelling.

YMazloomdoost Why is #publichealth always hard to communicate? b/c we’re trained as healers, not communicators & we’re always telling bad news #storytelling

pfanderson Watching Murray & Ava, a Love Story http://t.co/NMRvi57t as example of #healthcomm story arc at #storytelling

MLibraryHealthy RT @pfanderson: Watching Murray & Ava, a Love Story http://t.co/NMRvi57t as example of #healthcomm story arc at #storytelling

pfanderson “So, whaddya think? You wanna move?” “No. Leave me alone. Help someone else.” #storytelling

pfanderson “Virtual coaching sessions will not really include Ava. Sorry about that.” #storytelling

pfanderson HRA – Health Risk Assessment also using the “three-act” structure #storytelling

YMazloomdoost Stories should be: Engaging, Understandable, Memorable, Actionable. Write them simply and with a punch! #storytelling

pfanderson #storytelling @KodyChamberlain Act 1 + Act 2 = Act 3 http://t.co/3vFSIeAG

MLibraryHealthy How long do you get to tell your story? Usually it’s decided for you. #storytelling

pfanderson Look for opportunities to use 3act structure, but don’t force content into it. #storytelling

MLibraryHealthy Is the three act structure relevant for all public hlth communications? No don’t force it, just look for opportunities 2 #use it. #storytelling

pfanderson Now up @mikemosallam for #storytelling UM Alum in musical theater

YMazloomdoost Stories have 3 acts that build on each other. Hint at things in act 1 for act 3- audience’ll feel like they’re in on a secret =) #storytelling

pfanderson MM: “What is MY story?” Internet says top associations with the word “Arab” are terrorist, violent, bombers, etc. Hunh? #storytelling

pfanderson “Where I grew up Hassan & Jonathan played football together. The McDonald’s serve Hallal.” #storytelling

pfanderson “What if that was what I thought of myself?” Yep, that’s why I changed my name. #storytelling

pfanderson #storytelling “I went to grad school, because that’s what you do when you’re depressed.” @mikemosallam

MLibraryHealthy Mike Mosallam: Then I went to grad school cause that’s what you do when you’re depressed. #storytelling #truestory

pfanderson “Tell me about your experience after 9/11” Grad advisor to Arab film grad student #storytelling

YMazloomdoost Lol, yup– I went to grad school because that’s what you do when you’re depressed. @mikemosallam #storytelling What’s your grad school story?

MLibraryHealthy RT @YMazloomdoost: Lol, yup– I went to grad school because that’s what you do when you’re depressed. @mikemosallam #storytelling What’s your grad school story?

pfanderson That question became “Muslim the Musical” http://t.co/cIbvD7l7 bridgebuilder gatekeeper boundarspanner @mikemosallam #storytelling

pfanderson #storytelling @mikemosallam http://t.co/mA8yUPlG

Mike Mosallam

MLibraryHealthy @mikemosallam 3 goals: Create dialogue, build bridges & humanize the Arab-Muslim experience #storytelling

pfanderson Put a face to the experience, the Arab-American experience, the Arab-Muslim experience All American Muslim http://t.co/xDE0e6If #storytelling

pfanderson All American Muslim trailer http://t.co/oSQShiTZ #storytelling

MLibraryHealthy All-American Muslim trailer http://t.co/JExzJurE #storytelling

YMazloomdoost Great point @mikemosallam: The reason why there’s so much stereotyping, it’s because we don’t put a face to “others”- humanize #storytelling

MLibraryHealthy Focus Group: Most critical response and most negativity was from the #Muslim community. These people do not represent me. #storytelling

MLibraryHealthy @mikemosallam Create your own story. The #road has been paved. #storytelling

YMazloomdoost @mikemosallam: Create your own story. Don’t let someone else write your narrative. #storytelling

pfanderson Q fr @KodyChamberlain Did telling yr story promote change? A: Dialog was certainly created, more questions were asked, answered #storytelling

TypeONEderful “Don’t let someone else define your narrative” @mikemosallam #storytelling

pfanderson First person narrative, even told badly, is often more powerful than 3rd person done well #storytelling Find the humanizing factor.

pfanderson “I chose people who had a built-in story. Newlyweds pregnant with first child. Football team of Muslim players during Ramadan.” #storytelling

pfanderson #storytelling @mikemosallam quotes Gandhi “Be the change you want to see in the world”

YMazloomdoost RT @pfanderson: First person narrative, even told badly, is often more powerful than 3rd person done well #storytelling Find the humanizing factor.

TypeONEderful RT @YMazloomdoost: Stories should be: Engaging, Understandable, Memorable, Actionable. Write them simply and with a punch! #storytelling

pfanderson Q: What abt privacy in real stories? A: @bestcatmonte lawyers’ll tell U what 2 do. U have 2fight them every step of the way #storytelling

MLibraryHealthy Film making is lying in the service of a #greater truth. #storytelling

pfanderson #storytelling @mikemosallam “Let the subject direct the narrative” @bestcatmonte “Filmmaking is lying in the service of a greater truth”

MLibraryHealthy RT @pfanderson: #storytelling @mikemosallam “Let the subject direct the narrative” @bestcatmonte “Filmmaking is lying in the service of a greater truth”

pfanderson RT @TypeONEderful: “Don’t let someone else define your narrative” @mikemosallam #storytelling

pfanderson Now up #storytelling @KodyChamberlain full time artist. Sits quietly in his studio for hours at a time

MLibraryHealthy @KodyChamberlain impressive list of credits: Warner Bros, Dark Horse, Marvel, etc. #storytelling

pfanderson Young reader adaptation of Beowulf😉 @KodyChamberlain #storytelling Yay! He’s also Cajun. #storytelling

pfanderson So excited that @KobyChamberlain is from Lafayette. So much of my family there and in Eunice. #storytelling

MLibraryHealthy @kodychamberlain #AWESOME set of Indiana Jones cards! #storytelling

MLibraryHealthy @kodychamberlain If you’re anything like me you are wondering why would Ronnie from Jersey Shore need a desk. #storytelling #hairgelstorage?

pfanderson #storytelling @KodyChamberlain http://t.co/HRHWjsuD

Kody Chamberlain

pfanderson #storytelling @KodyChamberlain silhouette http://t.co/EocYeTWO

Comic artist in silhouette (Kody Chamberlain)

pfanderson❤ New Orleans fiction. Check out Sweets by @KodyChamberlain http://t.co/C5o4n2sz #storytelling

TypeONEderful “One of the things I love about creating comics is finding a new audience” @kodychamberlain #storytelling

MLibraryHealthy Go to MTV Comics and search #Punks. #storytelling

MLibraryHealthy RT @TypeONEderful: “One of the things I love about creating comics is finding a new audience” @kodychamberlain #storytelling

YMazloomdoost Just learned- conceptual art/drawing storyboard for scripts to work out visuals before u start filming w/actors @kodychamberlain #storytelling

pfanderson Interesting. Kody talks about photo collage techniques for non-artists working in comics #storytelling Outline > index cards. Screenplay format

pfanderson Reseller market for original artwork sold to fans #storytelling. Ink on top of pencil, erase pencil #storytelling

pfanderson Punks http://t.co/Dhiujqe4 | http://t.co/FVxj3YtO | http://t.co/F6AcOnvp #storytelling

pfanderson “When you catch a butterfly, stop swinging the net” @KodyChamberlain at #storytelling

MLibraryHealthy “When you catch a butterfly, stop swinging the net”. #storytelling

pfanderson There’s a difference between creativity (the idea generation) and the process of making #storytelling

YMazloomdoost When do you know it’s done? When you catch a butterfly, stop swinging the net. (Stop when the project’s working) @kodychamberlain #storytelling

pfanderson #storytelling @KodyChamberlain at MTV http://t.co/VNB7dAsV

pfanderson Sequential art: Scene 1, scene two, your mind fills in the egg or person falling #storytelling

MLibraryHealthy #Sequential art. Our minds fill in the space. @kodychamberlain #storytelling

TypeONEderful Sequential art is a powerful tool that is underutilized. Your mind fills in the gaps with all these ideas #storytelling

pfanderson Cave art as the first recording comic in history. Next the Egyptian pictograms #storytelling Logos became symbols, symbols became letters

YMazloomdoost @KodyChamberlain: Our memories add context (fills in gaps) for sequential art. Just like it does for symbols. #storytelling

pfanderson Comics in daily life are for life and death situations, Heimlich maneuver instructions don’t really work in written words #storytelling

pfanderson @ssieg I volunteered to do a comic tool session for #es13 Thinking I might have gotten myself in over my head #storytelling

MLibraryHealthy Comics are an efficient way to teach important concepts e.g. #heimlich maneuver @kodychamberlain #storytelling

TypeONEderful sequential art can provide instant understanding of complex ideas #storytelling

pfanderson I have got to find the comic on peeling a crawfish to show my mama & daughter @kodyChamberlain #storytelling

pfanderson I used to have a corkwall. Have been REALLY missing it in my nice plasterwalled house #storytelling

pfanderson “Sketching is not a gift. It is a process.” #storytelling

pfanderson RT @TypeONEderful: sequential art can provide instant understanding of complex ideas #storytelling

MLibraryHealthy RT @pfanderson: “Sketching is not a gift. It is a process.” #storytelling

pfanderson RT @MLibraryHealthy: Comics are an efficient way to teach important concepts e.g. #heimlich maneuver @kodychamberlain #storytelling

rubymoons RT @pfanderson: “Sketching is not a gift. It is a process.” #storytelling

pfanderson “Professionals rarely show their early work Bcuz it’s often terrible. The result is the assumption they create w/o it. Not true” #storytelling

rubymoons RT @YMazloomdoost: Stories should be: Engaging, Understandable, Memorable, Actionable. Write them simply and with a punch! #storytelling

rubymoons RT @TypeONEderful: “Don’t let someone else define your narrative” @mikemosallam #storytelling

pfanderson “Sketching is not about good drawing. It’s about good thinking.” #storytelling

MLibraryHealthy Might be 30 pages of #junk until I get that 1 image. @kodychamberlain #storytelling

YMazloomdoost KC: Professionals rarely show their early work; it’s often terrible. Result: assumption they create it w/o it. That’s not true. #storytelling

pfanderson “Bad sketches by brilliant creators” Hitchcock, Spielberg, Scorcese. And so what? Storyboards actually match film “on point” #storytelling

pfanderson RT @MLibraryHealthy: Might be 30 pages of #junk until I get that 1 image. @kodychamberlain #storytelling

32_Boards When @Lightskin04 @EazyB_3 @iBelieveN5 and i get together. #storytelling

pfanderson If idea is good, execution can come later. Dig into patent drawings for some really bad but clear drawings #storytelling

pfanderson Edison: “Make good drawing” added note to early sketches #storytelling

pfanderson Saul Bass as brilliant logo designer, storyboarded the shower scene in Psycho #storytelling

MLibraryHealthy Pop Culture Philosophy: Bob Ross, The #Happy #Accident. #storytelling

pfanderson #storytelling Popculture lessons. Bob Ross. Happy accident. “Wet on wet.” Use the mistake to inspire something new.

TypeONEderful Bob Ross’s “happy accident”, using an accident to create something new that you may not have thought of before #storytelling

pfanderson “Computers don’t make mistakes. (unless you include crashes)” #storytelling Pixar’s Renderfarm http://t.co/982dNQBR

Lightskin04 RT @32_Boards: When @Lightskin04 @EazyB_3 @iBelieveN5 and i get together. #storytelling

pfanderson We NEED mistakes & random things to happen in the early stages of develop concepts #storytelling

YMazloomdoost RT @TypeONEderful: Bob Ross’s “happy accident”, using an accident to create something new that you may not have thought of before #storytelling

MLibraryHealthy Pop-Culture Philosophy: Computers don’t make mistakes. But, #Pixar still storyboards despite the technology. #storytelling

TypeONEderful “We want mistakes to happen in the creative process, great ideas are born from that” @KodyChamberlain #storytelling

pfanderson RT @TypeONEderful: Bob Ross’s “happy accident”, using an accident to create something new that you may not have thought of before #storytelling

ReginaHolliday RT @TypeONEderful: Bob Ross’s “happy accident”, using an accident to create something new that you may not have thought of before #storytelling

pfanderson #storytelling @KobyChamberlain uses Bruce Lee philosophies “Be water, my friend” “Use what works”

pfanderson QUOTE: @KobyChamberlain Inspiration is a placebo. The feather was a placebo (Dumbo). #storytelling

YMazloomdoost Inspiration is a placebo. You don’t need it to create. @KodyChamberlain #storytelling “Inspiration is for amateurs”-Chuck Close

pfanderson Chuck Close “Inspiration is for amateurs” @KodyChamberlain #storytelling

pfanderson Darn it! I’ve been mistyping Kody’s name as Koby. Grrr #storytelling “Increase yr capacity before you hunt the shark” ???

pfanderson @strnglibrarian @lorireed #storytelling is a workshop on using storytelling to create health behavior change

MLibraryHealthy Make sure your capacity is big enough before you do the thing you need to do. @kodychamberlain #storytelling

pfanderson Drink and Draw clubs http://t.co/vCXT8G6i @KodyChamberlain #storytelling

TypeONEderful RT @YMazloomdoost: Inspiration is a placebo. You don’t need it to create. @KodyChamberlain #storytelling “Inspiration is for amateurs”-Chuck Close

pfanderson @strnglibrarian @lorireed Yes, at @UMich #umich School of Public Health #storytelling

pfanderson Thinktanks!!! #storytelling Social networking for artists @KodyChamberlain

pfanderson Times when people telling their own stories … that’s what works. #storytelling

MLibraryHealthy There is just something about someone telling their own story that works #storytelling

pfanderson Take the real original story, then carve out the parts with power to tell the story @bestcatmonte #storytelling

rivenhomewood RT @pfanderson: Take the real original story, then carve out the parts with power to tell the story @bestcatmonte #storytelling

pfanderson “A project I’m drawing can be empty because there’s no passion. That changes when everyone gets involved.” @KodyChamberlain #storytelling

pfanderson “Just because you have a great story doesn’t mean you can tell it.” @BestcatMonte #storytelling

pfanderson Assessing your audience can balance drive toward authenticity if unsure #storytelling Talking about actors as patients

MLibraryHealthy Know the objectives of your audience. E.g. Playing a patient, interesting to know which doctors I would never go to. #storytelling

fastfwdhealth RT @pfanderson: With @2020science at #storytelling “Tell me a story: Designing narratives for health behavior change” http://t.co/wPnQC14i

pfanderson Vic Strecher on Veterans as source of powerful stories for comic artists, storyteller as midwife of story #storytelling Trauma narratives

rubymoons RT @pfanderson: Assessing your audience can balance drive toward authenticity if unsure #storytelling Talking about actors as patients

MLibraryHealthy Now, how to make things #actionable…#storytelling

pfanderson RT @MLibraryHealthy: Now, how to make things #actionable…#storytelling

MLibraryHealthy Strecher: A lot of artists are unemployed during a piece of time. Almost every artist I’ve ever met has wanted to do good things #storytelling

pfanderson Someone asked my question – how to do things on the cheap. Vic says he just asks. Uh, yeah, sure. #storytelling

rivenhomewood RT @pfanderson: “Sketching is not about good drawing. It’s about good thinking.” #storytelling

pfanderson Teaching in front of 300 kids. “Gee, it sucks to be here” vs “INSPIRED!” #storytelling

MLibraryHealthy Mike: What do you want to do?…working on lecture slides with a comic book artist #storytelling

pfanderson RT @MLibraryHealthy: Mike: What do you want to do?…working on lecture slides with a comic book artist #storytelling

ElinSilveous Can Buckeyes follow along #storytelling ? It sounds/looks so interesting…

pfanderson Recommendation? Ask the students and departments, engage locals with talent #storytelling

MLibraryHealthy You have great ideas, now how do you implement those ideas? This is where most people stop, but keep it simple. #storytelling

pfanderson @ElinSilveous Livetweets are open! And I think they are recording it. Hopefully later?🙂 #storytelling

MLibraryHealthy Immerse yourself before #networking. #storytelling

pfanderson Immerse yourself in comic art B4 you start. That’s what Vic Strecher did #storytelling @KodyChamberlain says he overcommits to force deadlines

MLibraryHealthy @Marissa_M_ #storytelling is part of a Symposium today http://t.co/BOxbPEWw

rivenhomewood RT @pfanderson: Young reader adaptation of Beowulf😉 @KodyChamberlain #storytelling Yay! He’s also Cajun. #storytelling

MLibraryHealthy RT @pfanderson: Immerse yourself in comic art B4 you start. That’s what Vic Strecher did #storytelling @KodyChamberlain says he overcommits to force deadlines

pfanderson “We all have ideas that are fleeting. But the ideas that STICK … ” @mikemosallam #storytelling All Artists overcommit. It comes from passion

YMazloomdoost RT @MLibraryHealthy: Comics are an efficient way to teach important concepts e.g. #heimlich maneuver @kodychamberlain #storytelling

ElinSilveous Cool. Thank you! RT @pfanderson Livetweets are open! And I think they are recording it. Hopefully later?🙂 #storytelling

pfanderson Dr: Myths of healthcare. Blaming the victim. “two pounds overweight” Propaganda counter w/ art. #storytelling

MLibraryHealthy First thing to ask yourself, “Is there a story in it?” #storytelling

pfanderson Instead of taking on the world, think of ONE person who has this problem. Tell THAT story. #storytelling @BestcatMonte

pfanderson RT @MLibraryHealthy: First thing to ask yourself, “Is there a story in it?” #storytelling

MLibraryHealthy RT @pfanderson: Instead of taking on the world, think of ONE person who has this problem. Tell THAT story. #storytelling @BestcatMonte

pfanderson Tips for converting 3d to 2d through photography & lighting positioning #storytelling

MLibraryHealthy Technical questions: Scanner or photos used to transfer drawing to computers. Have to use photos for work with depth. #storytelling

MLibraryHealthy @Kodychamberlain Approach instructors to find artists. #storytelling

MLibraryHealthy World-Class Storytellers Symposium was #great! Check out #storytelling for more info!

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