Communication @ the Center is the theme of this year’s 2011 Conference of the International Communication Association. The theme highlights the centrality of communication scholarship by encouraging panels that identify core components of critical challenges and issues, and explore the role of communication studies in addressing them. The role played by information and communication technologies (ICTs) in the process of health communication cannot be understated. While ICTs hold great potential for improving knowledge management, supplying access to ICTs is not enough: information needs to be practical, easy-to-use, and locally relevant.
Emerging Mobile Technologies
A pre-conference to the Communication @ the Center was the Seamlessly Mobile: Mobile Communication @ a Crossroads, held from May 25-26, 2011. Already providing a venue for innovative scholars from around the world who are doing research in the area of mobile communication, the pre-conference also created an opportunity to discuss the challenges that face the integration of the internet into mobile phones not only for users, but for those doing research on mobile communication.
|A local vegetable vendor talks on a mobile phone in rural India. © 2009 Dr Urvish Joshi, Courtesy of Photoshare.
Members of the Center for Communication Program, Knowledge for Health Project, presented Applying Mobile Technologies to Improve Maternal and Infant Health in Rural Uttar Pradesh, India at the pre-conference. As part of a multi-country study, the Knowledge for Health (K4Health) project conducted a qualitative needs assessment of health information needs in Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state. While the focus was on the government’s public health system, a special effort was made to understand the health information needs of ASHAs, who are grassroots health workers at the village level.