Dr. Amelia Burke-Garcia is an award-winning digital health communicator and researcher with nearly 20 years of experience creating innovative and impactful digital interventions for health programs. She has supported flu vaccination by working with MeetUp groups across the country and partnering with the Waze mobile application to promote HIV testing. She has also been examining the role of influencers in health communication and research for more than a decade.
Dr. Burke-Garcia is currently leading the development of a national communication initiative funded through the CDC Foundation, and in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), that aims to increase coping and resiliency and reduce adverse psychological and behavioral outcomes, amidst – and as a result of – the COVID-19 pandemic. In this role, she oversees a portfolio of work that includes rapid formative research, e.g., partner listening sessions, focus groups, a survey, an environmental scan, and social listening, to inform the development of a set of new messages and materials tailored to the needs of four priority audiences: people ages 65+ and their caregivers, people living with pre-existing mental and physical health conditions, people experiencing violence, and people experiencing economic distress. These will be disseminated using trusted voices such as organizational partners and influencers and champions who reach and influence these audiences.
Dr. Burke-Garcia’s prior work includes acting as director for CDC’s National Influenza Vaccination Campaign, and prior to that, directed digital strategy for CDC’s entire immunization portfolio. She has co-led an NIH-funded study examining the effects of mommy bloggers on reader awareness of environmental risk factors for breast cancer and their intention to take steps to reduce their risk. She recently completed an exploratory study examining the knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors of online influencers who are also non-vaccinators.
She is the author of the S.O.C.I.A.L. framework for planning and evaluating digital campaigns and the author of the book, Influencing Health: A Comprehensive Guide to Working with Online Influencers, which was published by Routledge in 2019. She is a member of: 1) the editorial board for Social Marketing Quarterly journal; 2) the Board of Directors for ShiftCon, the largest health and wellness influencer network in the U.S.; and 3) the Scientific Committee for BigSurv20, the leading international conference on BigData and Survey Research. She has also been published in numerous books and journals.
She has been named as Diverse Health Hub’s Woman of the Week and to VeryWellHealth.com’s list of 10 Modern Female Innovators Shaking Up Health Care. She also received a 2014 Social Media Icon Award from PRNews Group.
She holds a Ph.D. in Communication from George Mason University, a Master’s degree from Georgetown University, and a Bachelor’s degree from McGill University.