The World Health Organization offers the following definition: “public health refers to all organized measures (whether public or private) to prevent disease, promote health, and prolong life among the population as a whole.”
Two BYU graduate students in public health, Cameron Lister and Dave Vance, have been working alongside the Executive Director for the UPHW to develop public health projects focused on reducing overweight and obesity. On the surface, this might not seem remarkable. However, Cameron and Dave hold some views not often expressed by others. They call their approach the Laugh Model. Cameron and Dave built this model on the following premises:
Most people don’t understand what public health is, much less what benefits it brings to them.
Public health professionals working to prevent disease and promote health don’t have inexpensive tools with which to promote either their own work as a whole, or specific programs that lead to healthier people.
Public health efforts, which are almost entirely financed by government, are not financially sustainable in an era of public-sector budget constraints and Federal deficit reduction.
“Edutainment,” or the combining of entertainment with education, and “viral marketing,” in which people widely share content like YouTube videos, are promising approaches to addressing the challenges facing public health professionals. Cameron and Dave call their initiative the “Laugh Model.”
Their approach is garnering attention from those in the highest ranks of public health. And, while the mission of the co-founders of Laugh Model is broader than that of the Utah Partnership for Healthy Weight, there is considerable overlap between the two. For this reason the UPHW and Laugh Model are collaborating, with each organization supporting what the other is doing. It is anticipated that in the coming months, Laugh Model will begin producing videos specifically for the UPHW. We can’t wait to begin sharing them with you. To learn more about Laugh Model, please go to http://www.laughmodel.com.