Communicating Health Risks: Challenges and Lessons Learned
Communicating health risks can be challenging, especially if an emergency situation is at hand. The latest issue of CDC’sHealth Communication Science Digest features lessons learned while communicating during the Ebola epidemic: Risk communication in times of crisis: Pitfalls and challenges in ensuring preparedness instead of hysterics (Bӧl G.F. 2016).Consistent with CDC’s Crisis and Emergency Risk Communication (CERC) framework, the article highlights “success factors” in risk and crisis communication.
- Drafting understandable concrete instructions on preventive measures for target groups
- Open and timely communication of scientific uncertainties
- Accounting for cultural backgrounds and building trust by seeing people as victims rather than stigmatizing them as perpetrators
- Adequate and acceptable comparisons of the current personal risk of contracting the disease with other known risks as well as information on behaviors that minimize or increase risks