Communicating about Infectious Disease Threats: Insights from Public Health Information Officers

Public Relations Review. [Sponsored by UGA’s Owens Institute for Behavioral Research]

Abstract: The public health communication challenges that arise in times of infectious disease threats (IDTs) were examined using the Risk Amplification through Media Spread (RAMS) Framework and in-depth phone interviews with 40 national, state, and local public health information officers (PIOs).  Interviewees shared their experiences and insights related to how IDTs are communicated to the public, including the different types of traditional and social media used, how they develop and assess IDT messages, and their perceptions regarding the IDT risk amplification process.  Theoretical and practical implications for health public relations and public health communication are discussed.

Yan Jin  Hyoyeun Jun 

Related Research

The role of risk tolerance in the publics’ health risk perception and responses

Abstract: To better understand how uncertainty influences publics’ risk perception and responses, this study introduced risk tolerance as a new concept to public relations literature and then investigated how publics react to health risks with different temporal distances: climate change and foodborne illness. Through an online survey, this study found out that uncertainty induced by […]

Yen-I LeeHyoyeun Jun
read more
Seeking Formula for Misinformation Treatment in Public Health Crises: The Effects of Corrective Information Type and Source

Abstract: An increasing lack of information truthfulness has become one fundamental challenge to communications. Insights into how to debunk this type of misinformation can especially be crucial for public health crises. To identify corrective information strategy that increases awareness and triggers actions during infectious disease outbreaks, an online experiment (N=700) was conducted, using a U.S. […]

Yan Jin
read more