Health communication

08/07/2020

Despite Australian horse owners being encouraged to vaccinate their horses against Hendra virus to reduce the risk of this potentially fatal virus to horses and humans, vaccine uptake has been slow. Discourse around the vaccine has been characterised by polarisation and dissenting voices. In this study we interviewed horse owners (N=15) and veterinarians (N=10), revealing how expert knowledge, disqualification of lay knowledge and inadequate handling of uncertainty impacted divisive discourse around Hendra virus. We assert that more inclusive, reflective and ultimately more effective risk communication practices will result if the legitimacy of diverse knowledge sources and the inevitability of uncertainty are acknowledged.

22/06/2020

The Mission Mosquito Information Sharing Program (ISP), a collaboration between the U.S. Department of State and Battelle Memorial Institute, is a public diplomacy effort to build and expand an international network of health communicators to increase engagement on mosquito-borne disease. Nineteen professionals from countries experiencing mosquito-borne diseases engaged in a two-week multi-directional information exchange across the United States in May 2018. Program alumni applied knowledge and tools from the ISP in follow-on projects and public outreach campaigns in their home countries. This paper summarizes the ISP and lessons learned, and highlights a science communication case study examining skills and understanding gained.

18/05/2020

This theoretical paper proposes a framework for how citizen science can be adapted to organizational contexts. Using an “input, process, output” approach, this model proposes organizational factors (e.g., communication channels and styles, and organizational structure) that should be considered when choosing among citizen science approaches (e.g., contributory, collaborative, co-created). The essay identifies possible outcomes for the individual, organization, and larger sector from employing a citizen science approach within an organizational setting.

16/03/2020

This study explores the effects of food science perception on food decisions in the controversial case of genetically modified (GM) foods. We examine (1) how scientific consensus and scientific deference affect the public perception of GM foods; and (2) how perception and healthy eating interest influence people's actual food consumption decisions. We categorized our samples into four groups based on different risk/benefit perceptions of GM food: tradeoff, relaxed, skeptical, and uninterested in the process of further data analysis.

02/12/2019

When it comes to complex topics in the field of health and risk communication, experts are of high importance for the credibility of a news media report. This paper examines the use of experts and their roles in the news media coverage of multi-resistant pathogens by means of a quantitative content analysis of German print and online news. A cluster analysis of the expert statements identifies three different statement frames describing different expert roles. The results show manifest patterns of selected expert sources, which points to professionalized mechanisms of selecting expert sources for news media reports.

14/06/2019

Currently in Spain, there is a political and social debate over the use and sale of homeopathic products, which is promoted mainly by the skeptical movement. For the first time, this issue has become significant in political discourse. This study analyzes the role that homeopathy-related stories are playing in that political debate. We analyzed the viewpoints of headlines between 2015 and 2017 in eight digital dailies (n = 1,683), which published over 30 stories on homeopathy during the three-year study period. The results indicated that the stance on therapy's lack of scientific evidence gained ground during the period studied.

19/09/2018

We review how the Wellcome Collection exhibition ‘Teeth’ enacts meanings from an educational anthropology and Science and Technology Studies perspective. The exhibition tells the history of dental science. It starts with accounts of the painful procedures and social inequalities of early oral healthcare. As it moves towards the present day it shows improved scientific knowledge, tools and public health promotion, and closes with current sophisticated technologies and practices. However it underrepresents contemporary social inequalities. We conclude that science communication exhibition curators should strive to represent the problems of today as well as those of the past.

20/07/2017

This study compares Australian government vaccination campaigns from two very different time periods, the early nineteenth century (1803–24) and the early twenty-first (2016). It explores the modes of rhetoric and frames that government officials used in each period to encourage parents to vaccinate their children. The analysis shows that modern campaigns rely primarily on scientific fact, whereas 200 years ago personal stories and emotional appeals were more common. We argue that a return to the old ways may be needed to address vaccine hesitancy around the world.

20/07/2017

This contribution concerns the role of the Victorian newspaper correspondence column in advancing knowledge of dermatology in relation to corporal punishment. It explores The Times' coverage of an inquest into the death by flogging of a British soldier. I argue that on the one hand, The Times participated in the debate about flogging in the army by bringing forward skin anatomy as an argument against corporal punishment. On the other hand, the paper might have used the publication of letters with medical content as a marketing strategy to maintain its authority and credibility against accusations of sensationalism.

20/07/2017

As a case study, we analyze an article of the psychiatrist Henrique Roxo published in 1942 in two publications directed to different publics. The communication of science was intended as part of Brazil's modernizing project of the epoch. Roxo's case reveals that the language used by science communicators, although sometimes of difficult apprehension, was part of an strategy of acknowledgment of the medical authority for the diagnosis and treatment of the mental illnesses.

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