Review: Critical health literacy and the COVID-19 crisis

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Review: Critical health literacy and the COVID-19 crisis

Review: Critical health literacy and the COVID-19 crisis

This commentary suggests public health experts can contribute to critical health literacy.

Understanding the multiple messages and recommendations surrounding COVID-19 is difficult given the high levels of uncertainty surrounding the virus. The abundance of health information from numerous, and sometimes untrustworthy, sources makes it difficult to control the risks. Critical health literacy is key to meeting the challenges posed by this wealth of information. Simply knowing about the risk (i.e., functional health literacy) has proven to be ineffective as people are both over- and under-reacting (e.g., panic shopping, gathering in masses). Public health leaders and politicians have a responsibility to help the public accept uncertainty and respond to their concerns while motivating them to engage in critical reflection and action. By contributing to a broader understanding of how to reflect on complex health issues and critically assess available information, public health experts can promote behaviors that are most useful during the COVID-19 crisis.

|2020-04-14T09:46:52-04:00April 14th, 2020|COVID-19 Literature|Comments Off on Review: Critical health literacy and the COVID-19 crisis

About the Author: Maria Brann

Maria Brann
Dr. Maria Brann, PhD, MPH, is a professor in the Department of Communication Studies in the School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI and affiliate faculty with the Injury Control Research Center at West Virginia University. She explores the integration of health, interpersonal, and gender communication. Her translational focus and mixed methods approach are woven throughout her health vulnerabilities research, which advocates for more effective communication to improve people’s health and safety. Her primary research interests focus on the study of women’s and ethical issues in health communication contexts and promotion of healthy lifestyle behaviors to improve personal and public health and safety. She researches communication at both the micro and macro levels and studies how communication influences relationships among individuals and with the social world.

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