Written by Julie Hentz.
Fernando dos Santos Almeida
iSMA Communication Team, Graphic Designer
What is Fernando dos Santos Almeida doing when he isn’t working in research at University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), plus completing his PhD in Design from the Federal University of Santa Catarina in Florianópolis, Brazil, plus staying active by riding his bike along the Pacific Ocean and through the mountains around LA? Well, he’s also been volunteering for almost a year for iSMA, providing design products for the organization, from video to designs for web and print, offering our organization his years of design expertise.
Fernando came to iSMA and the field of social marketing by way of a cherished friend to many of us in the social marketing field, Susan Kirby. “Susan Kirby was one of the first people that I met when I came to California. I was introduced to social marketing and iSMA, through Susan. I wish I had the opportunity to share my social marketing work with my late friend, as I know she would celebrate it with me with her characteristic joy and sense of humor. I hope to honor her memory by doing much good alongside iSMA, applying the lessons she generously taught me.”
“What interests me, says Fernando, are the areas of language, society and culture, as well as the natural and life sciences.” He is focusing on health popularization through mass campaigning in neglected communities, specifically around infant vaccination campaigns in Latin America.
And this work aligns with Fernando’s PhD research on vaccination campaigning in Latin America, utilizing social marketing to analyze communication strategies adopted throughout the years.
With a background in graphic design and visual communication, a mastery of those tools and techniques have proven very effective in public health to deal with complex social problems. Fernando has been fascinated to see how different professionals use similar approaches to deal with global health issues. The current COVID-19 pandemic revealed the need for efficient risk communication, essential for every community, to benefit from the social marketing approach for behavioral change. Design and visual communication can be a powerful force of information and motivation for the Promotional “P”, and particularly addressing health literacy barriers.
Fernando is already working on his next chapter… “I took the Introduction to Social Marketing course offered by iSMA, and started my own health education platform called Gotas de Saber (“Drops of Knowledge” in Portuguese) @GotasSaber. There, I have been sharing news and studies regarding public health to make it accessible to Portuguese and English-speaking audiences.”
After completing his PhD in Brazil next year, Fernando will return to LA to continue working with his multidisciplinary teams on health promotion. He finds that their resources and skill sets facilitate positive action globally to promote health communication and education. He is eager to pursue his work as a researcher, instructor, and designer.”
In the meantime, iSMA is grateful that Fernando is contributing his talents and experience to support the social marketing work of our organization.
– Julie Hentz