Health Department Hopes Personal Stories will Inspire Change

Daily Herald (Provo, UT), March 26, 2008


“We can give people facts and statistics all day long. Those are valuable, but to really inspire people to make change, you need the human element,” said Lena Dibble, spokeswoman for the Bureau of Health Promotion in Utah’s Department of Health .

The bureau is launching the Utah Health Story Bank, a database where the public can post personal stories, whether chronic disease, healthy lifestyle changes or experiences with traumatic injury or domestic violence.

The stories are screened by staff but kept confidential unless permission is given to share them through community health promotions, research or to provide state lawmakers with information.

Glen Hanson, a University of Utah professor and the director of the Utah Addiction Center, said Story Bank is an interesting idea.

Medical professionals, he said, have long valued the family history of patients and sharing personal experiences is a cornerstone of counseling addicts.

“When you have personal experiences, they always seem to pack a greater punch. … It puts it into a context and when you hear that, you’re much more likely to remember the details than if I were to rattle off facts,” Hanson said.

Subjects Covered: healing, medicine

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