Online Program

Goals for risk communication in the era of web 2.0

Monday, November 4, 2013 : 3:30 p.m. - 3:50 p.m.

Noel Brewer, PhD, Department of Health Behavior, University of North Carolina, Gillings School of Global Public Health, Chapel Hill, NC
Risk messages are so common that we often barely think about them: Smoking increases your risk for cancer. Don't drink and drive. The terrorism threat level is orange. But what's the point? As people charged with the task of communicating risk, we need to think carefully about what we can expect from specific risk messages and from broader risk communication efforts. Scarce resources raise the stakes for risk communication, because you may not get a second chance to have impact. Doing all of this in the context of social media can be even more challenging. This talk reviews three goals for risk communication and examines these goals in the context of Web 2.0. Some risk messages seem to be merely about sharing information, or just getting it said, but just presenting risk information is an inadequate goal. More ambitious and defensible is to change what people think, or possibly, to change their behavior. Aiming to change beliefs or behavior provides specific outcomes for evaluating whether the risk communication worked. The material is adapted from Communicating Risks and Benefits: An Evidence-Based User's Guide, the FDA's risk communication book that is available for free on the web.

Learning Areas:

Communication and informatics
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
List three possible goals for conveying risk communication. Identify an appropriate goal that fits the risk communication challenge for medical decision making, in the context of Web 2.0.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: My research happens in the Health Cognition & Behavior Lab. We pursue theoretical questions that have real world implications for the public's health. I am co-author of, Communicating Risks and Benefits: An Evidence-Based User's Guide, US Department of Health and Human Services, Food and Drug Administration Risk Communication Advisory Committee and consultants.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.