Boston, Mass. -- H1N1 and seasonal influenza beware - new heroes have arrived, ready to defend the population and fight a viral battle, via Facebook, in the form of 'Flu Fighters!'
Developed by researchers at Children's Hospital Boston, in collaboration with theDepartment of Health and Human Services (HHS), a new Facebook application called "I'm a Flu Fighter!" gives people the opportunity to mobilize and take action against the threat of influenza - by telling their friends they got the H1N1/seasonal flu vaccine and encouraging them to do the same. Launching as part of National Influenza Vaccination Week, the app also provides information on influenza - including a flu vaccine locator - courtesy of HHS's Flu.gov.
The application is part of the HealthySocial project (HealthySocial.org), founded two years ago by Ben Reis, PhD, of the Children's Hospital Informatics Program. The project aims to empower individuals to promote positive health behaviors amongst their friends and family through the use of social networks. Reis and his team are working on a range of free social apps that allow users to collaborate with their friends to encourage better health.
"Social networks have tremendous potential to do good in the world," says Reis. "By leveraging existing social connections, people can spread positive health behaviors and attitudes amongst their friends and loved ones."
Children's Hospital Boston is home to the world's largest research enterprise based at a pediatric medical center, where its discoveries have benefited both children and adults since 1869. More than 500 scientists, including eight members of the National Academy of Sciences, 13 members of the Institute of Medicine and 12 members of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute comprise Children's research community. Founded as a 20-bed hospital for children, Children's Hospital Boston today is a 396-bed comprehensive center for pediatric and adolescent health care grounded in the values of excellence in patient care and sensitivity to the complex needs and diversity of children and families. Children's also is the primary pediatric teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School. For more information about the hospital and its research visit: www.childrenshospital.org/newsroom.