Public Health Information: Media and Risk Communication PHP0230 Introduction to Public Health 2009 Robert Marshall, PhD Session Objectives Identify purposes of ?communications? Case example/discussion ?H1N1 Flu? Risk communication Tools, tips and traps Definition- Health Communication The study and use of communication strategies to inform and influence individual and community decisions that enhance health -source: NCI ?Pink Book? p 2. Health Communication Can Increase knowledge/awareness Influence perceptions Prompt action Advocate for a position or policy Increase support or demand for services Refute myths and misconceptions Health Communication (alone) Can?t Compensate for inadequate access or quality Produce sustained change in complex behaviors Be equally effective with all messages, issues or audiences Solve EVERY public health problem!!! Public information: a tool for public health Dept of HEALTH Media Audience Lessons Learned Media?Public Health: a dynamic (sometimes ?adverse?) relationship Balancing various interests and points of view. Public health and safety ?Breaking news? Confidentiality Villains, Victims and Heroes (story elements) ?Hard Truth? about science news No one is as interested as you are Most reporters won?t understand the story Most people won?t understand your story Science is hard to ?tell? (3 x 9 = 27) You are competing with other (more interesting) stories (e.g ?Michael Jackson?) Example: H1N1 ?Swine? Flu a pandemic virus; emerged April 2009. most people lack immunity to new viruses, spread quickly and widely H1N1 appears to infect younger people more than older people (preexisting immunity) H1N1 ?Swine? Flu People at greatest risk for 2009 H1N1 children, young adults age 19-24 pregnant women people age 25-64 with chronic health conditions 2009 H1N1 flu vaccine for close contacts of infants < 6 months healthcare and emergency medical services personnel. H1N1 flu advice Wash hands frequently Cough or sneeze into elbow Stay at home if sick (24 hrs after fever-free) Keep surfaces clean Discard tissues properly Get the flu shot (if eligible) and seasonal shot Oh yes?.wash hands frequently Surveillance Sept 6-12 2009 H1N1 Incidence Pediatric Deaths ? H1N1 H1N1 Hospitalizations ILI Office Visits - US New England ILI Visits ILI visits in NJ, NY ILI Activity US Context: Public Mood Widespread concern about new disease Mounting concern about: Illnesses and deaths Travel Schools and colleges Bioterrorism Foreign nationals/illegal aliens Unease re global economy Unemployment Absence from work Costs of health care Scenario Headline #1 H1N1 Found in RI Population Should we be concerned? What should we say? What do you want to know? Reporters Doctors and other health care professionals Local school officials Anyone else? Scenario Headline #2 RI Teenager Sick from H1N1 Schools/Colleges Monitored for Cough/Fever How does this change things? What do we say now? Why/why not? What do you want to know now? Reporters Parents of Teens School officials Anyone else? Scenario Headline #3 College Athlete Dies from H1N1 Officials Warn other Colleges How does this change things? What are people thinking? What do you really want to know now? Local businesses State gov?t officials (Health, DCYF, DoEd) College/University officials Parents of victims college student Sports officials Anyone else? When Things Go Wrong! Rhode Island Meningitis Campaign - 1998 *Some would say an ?adverse? relationship * ?A Science-based approach for communicating effectively in: High-Concern Sensitive or Controversial Situations? Risk Communication -Vince Covello, PhD. Trust Determination Factors In High Concern Situations Assessed in first 30 seconds Caring and Empathy 50% Competence/Expertise 15-20% Honesty/ Openness 15-20% Dedication/ Commitment 15-20% Risk Communication Events perceived to be real will be real in their consequences. --W.I. Thomas The End
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