Factors Affecting Production and Spread of Crisis Information during Infectious Disease Outbreaks

Yan Jin. “Factors Affecting Production and Spread of Crisis Information during Infectious Disease Outbreaks (IDOs): Insider Insights on the Risk Amplification through Media Spread (RAMS) Model.” Owens Institute for Behavioral Research (OIBR) Pilot Funds ($4,400), University of Georgia, Spring 2017. PI. (Lead Researchers: Lucinda Austin, Glen Nowak, and Santosh Vijaykumar)

Abstract: How to effectively and ethically engage with publics via both traditional and social media in different types of public health risks and crises with different forms of media has been a critical question for both public health information officers and risk communication scholars.  A particular type of health crisis, infectious disease outbreaks (IDOs), can imperil the health of large numbers of individuals and severely threaten the social and economic wellbeing of affected communities.  Integrating the Social-Mediated Crisis Communication (SMCC) model and the Social Amplification of Risk Framework, a new conceptual model, Risk Amplification through Media Spread (RAMS), has been recently developed and published to understand infectious disease triggered public health crisis situations (Vijaykumar, Jin & Nowak, 2015).  By conducting in-depth interviews with regional, state, and national health information officers, this study will utilize the framework of RAMS to provide insider insights into the communicative behaviors and perceptions of public health communicators through examining how IDO information is produced for the public and how traditional and social media are utilized in doing so.  This study will also explore how health communicators perceive the role of social media in IDO crisis information, while combating misinformation spread by various sources, and what ethical considerations they make.
Yan Jin 

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