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Round table: Clear communication in the face of changing evidence: the example of COVID-19 prophylaxis (EPH 2021, EuroHealthNet organising)

11 November, 2021

This round table is part of the 14th European Public Health Conference.

Organised by: EUPHA, EuroHealthNet
Chairpersons: Alastair Leyland (EUPHA), Alison Maassen (EuroHealthNet)

 

Clear communication of scientific evidence remains important, as dramatically highlighted by COVID-19. But what does clear communication look like if the evidence keeps changing? Along with the known problems of fake news, disengagement and science scepticism, there is the problem of scientists presenting conflicting views on the same topic. Alternatively, changing evidence can lead to scientists saying something but, in the light of new evidence, revising their conclusions and the scientific message. In the case of COVID-19, the lack of clear scientific messaging in the early days of the pandemic opened the debate to politics and culture, lowering trust in science and politicizing mitigation measures such as mask wearing. What lessons can be learned from the COVID-19 experience in order to improve future scientific communication, even in the face of uncertain evidence? What are the roles of different actors, such as epidemiologists, behaviour change specialists, science journalists, policymakers and international actors like the WHO in shaping this narrative? How can they improve their future collaboration so that scientific communication with the public becomes more transparent, equitable and trust-building?

Programme

Short presentations:

  • Prophylactic measures taken in times of COVID-19 – Ricardo Mexia, Epidemiologist and Public Health Doctor, Portuguese National Health Institute Doutor Ricardo Jorge (INSA), Portugal
  • Contribute to the effectiveness of COVID-19 prevention measures, by making available state-of-the-art behavioural and communication science expertise – Mariken Leurs, Head Corona Behavioural Unit, Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM)
  • Key considerations for risk communication and community engagement – Cristiana Salvi, Regional Adviser, Risk Communication & Community Engagement, Health Emergencies, WHO Europe
  • How protective masks went from don’t wear to must have – Megan Molteni, Science Journalist

Panel discussion with the audience

 

More information on this round table is available here.

European Public Health Conference 2021 & EuroHealthNet’s involvement

The European Public Health Association (EUPHA) and the European Public Health Conference (EPH) are pleased to invite you to the 14th EPH conference. Co-chairs of the Congress are Anthony Staines and Regien Biesma-Blanco.

More information is available here.

EuroHealthNet organises and is involved in a number of sessions during the 2021 European Public Health Conference. Find more information here.

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