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Articles on Health communication

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Presenting their ‘human self’ as well as their ‘professional self’ allows doctors to role model healthy behaviours for peers and trainees, and be more relatable to their patients and the public. (Shutterstock)

Doctors engage the public by bringing a human side to social media

Doctors use social media for reasons ranging from the strictly professional to the highly personal: They connect with colleagues, raise awareness of social issues and educate the public on health topics.
Feet of a person with lymphatic filariasis, also known as elephantiasis. WHO

Patients’ beliefs about illness matter: the case of elephantiasis in rural Ghana

In rural Ghana, only 18% of patients believe elephantiasis is a disease. Some others think it is caused by curses or even rain. Only by understanding local beliefs can it be treated effectively.
Before the pandemic, an intergenerational tea party wouldn’t have seemed a risky proposition. fotostorm/E+ via Getty Images

It’s impossible to determine your personal COVID-19 risks and frustrating to try – but you can still take action

People want a simple answer. Is this action safe? But despite Anthony Fauci bouncing responsibility for COVID-19 risk assessment to individuals, your risk can’t be boiled down to one probability.
Kids figure out who’s trustworthy as they learn about the world. Sandro Di Carlo Darsa/PhotoAlto Agency RF Collections via Getty Images

Trust comes when you admit what you don’t know – lessons from child development research

People often try to seem confident and certain in their message so it will be trusted and acted upon. But when information is in flux, research suggests you should be open about what you don’t know.
Bundhurr Marburumburaay Miilgi Ngalgarra (lighting, thunder, rain, shine)- no matter how big, strong or scary the storm the sun will shine again. Artist Renae Lamb, Wiradjuri Wongabong. Owner Midnight Dreaming. Used with permission. Provided by author

10 ways we can better respond to the pandemic in a trauma-informed way

The COVID-19 pandemic is a stressful time for all, and even more so for people experiencing trauma-related stress. How can public health emergency responses avoid further trauma for vulnerable people?
Crises disrupt our expectations for the future, thereby affecting our emotions, planning behaviours and identities. (Unsplash/Nick Fewings)

Successful health campaigns during COVID-19 need to manage our altered ideas about the future

When a crisis like COVID-19 disrupts expectations for the future, it also disrupts how health messaging works. Advertising research shows three ways that health campaigns can succeed in a crisis.
See, no crying or big needles, just a person of colour showing off his plaster. This image does the job without scaring people and demonstrates diversity. from www.shutterstock.com

Pictures of COVID injections can scare the pants off people with needle phobias. Use these instead

Our well-meaning efforts to use images to help demystify the vaccination process or share our pride in getting a COVID vaccine can backfire.
Teaching researchers and scientists communication skills — including social media proficiency — will help inform the public about new discoveries and research. (Shutterstock)

Scientists: Here’s how to fight back against anti-maskers, climate deniers and anti-vaxxers

Budget cuts and outsourcing content have affected the amount and quality of science journalism. Scientists should learn to communicate their own findings directly and clearly to the public.

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