Review: Improving communication about COVID-19 and other emerging infectious diseases

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Review: Improving communication about COVID-19 and other emerging infectious diseases

Review: Improving communication about COVID-19 and other emerging infectious diseases

In this letter to the editor, scholars recommend three strategies to improve communication about public health outbreaks.

Drawing from communication research, the authors offer best practices for reducing misinformation, disseminating accurate information, and promoting prevention and control recommendations. Three strategies to utilize include:

  • Acknowledge uncertainty: honesty about what is known and what is unknown at each stage of an epidemic is a critical component of transparency that will increase trust
  • Contextualize statistics: to mitigate excessive anxiety pair personal, community, or national risk with concrete, evidence-based actions to reduce risk
  • Resist misinformation: counter prominent false narratives while promoting reliable sources of health information, and avoid propagating misinformation

Adhering to these three recommendations when communicating with the public, the media, and other audiences will improve communication about COVID-19 from the initial crisis through the resolution of the pandemic.

|2020-04-20T09:15:03-04:00April 20th, 2020|COVID-19 Literature|Comments Off on Review: Improving communication about COVID-19 and other emerging infectious diseases

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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