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Health professions education in the 21st century should incorporate both community mobilization and social media strategies. First, community mobilization facilitates change by educating community members with evidence-based, high-quality and up-to-date health information and empowering their active participation in target health initiatives. Second, advancements in technology and globalization foster the development of innovative communication technologies used as a key tool in the ‘roll out’ of community health initiatives during epidemics such as Ebola virus disease. In August 2014, medical students of Sierra Leone and Guinea used these dual health promotional strategies in the Kick Ebola Out campaign to educate community members about transmission of the Ebola virus and preventive measures, as well as to reduce perceptions related to stigma or fear of disease transmission. In this report, we describe how medical students, who are trained in basic and clinical sciences, evidence-based practices, and social determinants of health, can serve as human resources for health and facilitate dynamic communication strategies to educate and empower both medical students and community members for local or national health initiatives.
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- Addressing the role of medical students using community mobilization and social media in the Ebola response
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