Amid the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine, YouTube is reimagining its approach to health content, and has charged a new executive with bringing more authoritative and engaging health-focused programming to its platform.
To lead these efforts, YouTube has named Dr. Garth Graham (pictured above) director and global head of healthcare and public health partnerships. Graham previously served as the chief community health officer at CVS Health, and the U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Health under both the Obama and Bush administrations.
Graham’s work will revolve around three key pillars, per YouTube: delivering ‘credible information’ with respect to illness symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment; ‘guided practices’, including fitness classes and physical therapy demos; and ’emotional support’, in the form of both testimonials and fostering community.
At the same time, YouTube has announced partnerships with several prominent health care institutions with whom it plans to collaborate on content initiatives. These include: The American Public Health Association, Cleveland Clinic, Harvard School of Public Health, Mayo Clinic, Osmosis, Psych Hub, and the National Academy of Medicine. Additionally, YouTube will offer increased audience-building support to native healthcare creators such as Dr. Natalie Crawford, Dr. Ali Mattu, and Dr. Cedric ‘Jamie’ Rutland, the company said.
“People around the world are more mobile, consuming video online and increasingly getting their most important health information from the internet — and more specifically, YouTube,” Graham wrote in a blog post outlining the aims of his new position. “For anyone who wants to be at the forefront of change in healthcare education, YouTube is an important part of this digital revolution.”
Graham is part of the larger Google Health clinical team, which provides medical and scientific expertise across Google’s various products and services — headed by Dr. Karen DeSalvo. That said, Graham’s responsibilities will specifically be focused on YouTube.
YouTube has long served as a hub for the proliferation of medical misinformation, and the platform has previously contended with anti-vaccination content by demonetizing conspiratorial videos and populating fact-checking cards. Its latest efforts in the health sector arrive amid the rollout of the coronavirus vaccine, as it has also sought to clamp down on misinformation with respect to that process, including by implementing fact-checking cards, banning videos containing COVID-19 vaccine conspiracies, and issuing strikes at offending channels.