CDC + SL = Hygeia Philo Published 2007-03-20 under ,

Hygeia Philo How do you make public health sexy? You create a good looking, hip, red head who can spread the word. This is exactly what the Center for Deasease Control (CDC) has done. Meet Hygeia Philo (Love of Health), the CDC's Second Life (SL) avatar who is tasked with engaging SL folks in conversations about health.

John AndersonAnderton, the man behind the woman, is CDC's social networking expert who created Hygeia and developed the CDC's precence in SL. You can read an interesting interview with Mr. Anderson (aka Hygeia) on the social marketing blog Spare Change. Though the post if from November, 2006, I just discovered it. I really struck by Mr. Anderson'sAnderton's response to the question "Are there specific health issues that you tend to focus on that are more prevalent among Second Life residents because of their demographics and behavioral risk factors?"

I would like to gradually introduce the topic of sexual health into the space, as a way to promote discussion about the links between what one says and does in Second Life, and then one's actions in real life. Liaisons in real life, foreshadowed and even pre-enacted though virtual spaces have led to documented disease transmission, and discussion about this seems generally absent from SL.

Here, here! Not only does the CDC embrace education in the form of discussion rather than preaching, they are willing to explore non-traditional methods of engaging their audience.

Second Life is not for everyone, but it is certainly appealing to many. Why not use it to engage an audience in real conversations. Has anyone heard of any political candidates who have a SL presence?

Side Note: I heard an interesting story on NPR regarding use of video games in political campaigns.

Correction: Appologizies for misspelling Mr. Anderton's name.


John P. Anderton, Ph.D., M.P.A. said...

Glad you like the CDC efforts in Second Life. Thanks for your posting!