142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition

Annual Meeting Recordings are now available for purchase

Risk Communication In the Face of Scientific Uncertainty: When Every Second Counts

142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition (November 15 - November 19, 2014): http://www.apha.org/events-and-meetings/annual
Monday, November 17, 2014 : 8:50 AM - 9:10 AM

Nicole Lurie, M.D., M.S.P.H. , U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Secretary, Washington, DC
Each disaster reveals new, critical scientific questions that merit a robust and efficient science response. As scientists try to tackle these new questions, and wade through challenges like asynchronous studies, differing quality reports, or inconclusive studies – how should public health authorities communicate this uncertain information to the public?

Many environmental disasters, like the Deep Horizon Gulf Oil Spill or the West Virginia Chemical Spill, involve industrial products previously unstudied by the emergency response community. Other disasters involve large populations with new risks officials may have not considered which this session will discuss.

In all cases, effective risk-communication could have the potential to save lives. The Office of the Assistant Secretary of Preparedness and Response (ASPR) is leading a Federal effort to establish a framework to facilitate rapid and longitudinal scientific research when the health of the nation is threatened by various emergencies and disasters. This framework also includes a key risk-communication component intended to empower communities and health authorities to make informed decisions in the midst of scientific uncertainly. This presentation will discuss this framework, and highlight the relationship between effective communication and science repsonse.

Learning Areas:

Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Public health or related public policy
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Describe the role of an integrated public health practice and scientific research capability in disaster response Identify key gaps hampering effective public health practice and scientific research needed to answer complex questions in the context of disasters Examine key components of an integrated research response framework in the context of public health emergencies

Keyword(s): Emergency Preparedness, Public Health Research

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Under the Pandemic and All Hazards Preparedness Act, HHS is the lead agency for the National Response Framework (NRF) for Emergency Support Function 8 (ESF). The Secretary of HHS delegates to ASPR the leadership role for all health and medical services support function in a health emergency or public health event.
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.