Hospitals offered limited public support of Black Lives Matter movement, study says

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Researchers analyzed the top 100 hospitals' Twitter accounts to analyze their support of Black Americans, social justice and the Black Lives Matter movement, according to an Oct. 15 report published in JAMA Network Open.

Researchers from Harvard Medical School, Boston Children's Hospital, Cambridge, Mass.-based Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the University of California in San Francisco analyzed tweets using the Newsweek world’s best hospitals 2020 list from May 2, 2009, to Dec. 4, 2020. 

Six study insights:

  1. There were 281,850 tweets from 90 social media accounts collected. Researchers manually looked at tweets discussing Black Lives Matter, support of Black Americans, Black health, social justice and related topics.

  2. There were 274 tweets, or 0.097 percent of total tweets, that were hashtagged to support the Black Lives Matter movement. Sixty-seven percent of Twitter handles, or 74.4 percent of all Twitter accounts analyzed, supported the movement.

  3. There were four tweets with Black Lives Matter published before George Floyd's death. Before the death, there were 244 tweets, or 0.086 percent, issuing Black support from 2013-20. 

  4. From 2018-20, there were just 28 tweets, or 0.0099 percent, about Black health from 15 Twitter handles. From 2015-20, there were 40 tweets, or 0.014 percent, about social justice from 15 Twitter accounts.

  5. The earliest tweets in support of Black Americans or social justice were published six years after the earliest tweets by hospitals.

  6. Most hospitals focused their tweets on somatic health. Even when discussing COVID-19, hospitals separated messages about Black health and the virus, according to the study.

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