Can you use a TV soap or a game to promote health? What is the role and impact of health stories from celebrities, (blogging) patients and health organisations? How should health and media professionals work together? And what challenges do health communication scholars face? These and other questions will be answered at the HealthNar closing symposium.

University of Antwerp (MIOS) organised the HealthNar Closing Symposium of the European IRSES Health Narratives Network, entiteled “Mediated narratives, interactive technology, and health behaviors” (March 23-24, 2017). On the first day, the potential of Entertainment-Education for health promotion was explored. On the second day, new technologies and new storytellers were put in the spotlights. The symposium included keynote lectures, poster presentations, interactive sessions and a roundtable discussion. Several renowned scholars and field experts contributed as well. The symposium invited health promotion practitioners, media professionals, health communication scholars, and health and media policymakers to participate. 

Day 1: Entertainment-(Mis)Education: Bringing together health professionals and media professionals to create (more) persuasive stories

  • ​Transportation into a Narrative world. By Melanie Green (University of Buffalo)
  • Entertainment Education Collaboratio: The Turtle and Peacock Effect. By Martine Bouman (Centrum Media & Gezondheid)
  • Health issues in the Flemish soap 'Thuis'. By Guy Thys (VRT)
  • Health Promotion in Flanders: Reaching and Convincing Audiences – Current Challenges. By Liese Weemaels (VIGeZ: Flemish Institution for Health Promotion and Illness Prevention)
  • Parallel sessions (Scientific) Facts – (Media) Fiction – and “Fixers”: integrating scientific knowledge in entertainment formats to promote health – interactive format
    • Cyberbullying: Nic Balthazar (movie, television and radio maker), Sibille Declercq (Awel), Nadine Bernard (Ketnet),…
    • Sexual Health: Steven Eggermont (KULeuven), Laura Vandenbosch (KULeuven/UAntwerpen), Lies Verhetsel (Sensoa), Joris Van Ouytsel (UAntwerpen), John de Wit (Utrecht University), Julie Dare (Edith Cowan University),…
    • Food:  Christophe Matthys (KULeuven), Ellen Van Gool (, Tim Smits (KULeuven)

​Day 2 – New Technologies / New Storytellers (health narratives from celebrities, empowered patients and organizations…)​​

  • ​‘She Died of a Mother’s Broken Heart’: Media and Audiences Framing Health Narratives of Heart-Related Celebrity Deaths. By Hilde Van den Bulck  (University of Antwerp)
  • Social media and suicide prevention: new opportunities or threats? By Kirsten Pauwels (Centrum ter Preventie van Zelfdoding/Center for Suicide Prevention)
  • Narrative Involvement in Games for Diet and Physical Activity Change. By Tom Baranowski (Baylor College of Medicine)
  • Our friends and helpers - Smartphones as a measurement tool and delivery channel for personalized health interventions. By Silvana Weber (University Koblenz-Landau) & Christopher Lorenz (Soma Analytics)