4072.0: Tuesday, November 14, 2000 - 8:45 AM

Abstract #14922

Using formative research in the risk communication process: Reseults from Massachusetts

James Hyde, MA, SM, Department of Family Medicine and Community Health, Tufts University School of Medicine, 136 Harrison Ave, Boston, MA 02111 and William DeJong, PhD, Harvard School of Public Health, 677 Huntington Ave, Boston, MA 02115, (617)969-7101x239, BDeJong@edc.org.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency required that as of October of 1999 water suppliers provide their customers with detailed information about the quality and safety of their drinking water. These directives transformed "overnight" the role of water suppliers from utility companies to public health agencies in so far as the content of the information they were disseminating was concerned. Making these adjustments is extremely difficult and requires a new set of communication strategies and techniques.

In this presentation, we describe the process we went through in working with the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA) to plan, develop and disseminate their Consumer Confidence Report (CCR). We will discuss steps in the formative research process including gathering data and information from focus groups and interviewing a broad range of consumers and policy makers. During this process a careful attempt was made to assess people's perceptions of the agency, it's staff and it's perceived credibility as a disseminator of public health information. The process through which we gathered these data and integrated them into the final version of the CCR will also be described. Finally, we will present data and information from the evaluation (now underway) of the CCR released in October 1999.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of this presentatation attendees will be able to: 1) explain the importance of formative research in crafting risk communication strategies 2) discuss the steps in developing a formative research strategy 3) provide several examples of data and information gathering approaches

Keywords: Risk Communication, Research

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Organization/institution whose products or services will be discussed: None
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

The 128th Annual Meeting of APHA