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Effective Risk Communication

Course Status

Summer Institute
Health, Behavior and Society
Academic Year
2023 - 2024
Instruction Method
Synchronous Online
Start Date
Monday, June 5, 2023
End Date
Friday, June 9, 2023
Class Time(s)
M, Tu, W, Th, F, 1:00 - 4:00pm
Auditors Allowed
Yes, with instructor consent
Available to Undergraduate
Grading Restriction
Letter Grade or Pass/Fail
Frequency Schedule
Every Year
This course will help you learn how to • Create effective theory-based communication during times of crises • Use audience segmentation techniques in designing risk communications • Take into account the full spectrum of social ecological factors, health equity, and disparities that affect vulnerable populations, in designing a public health response during pandemics and other crises
Prepares students to develop effective risk communication strategies and materials for use during a pandemic. Reviews common theories of social and behavior change communication across the socioecological spectrum. Examines the disproportionate impact of pandemics on marginalized and vulnerable population groups. Challenges students to critically assess risk communication messages and approaches using an equity and disparities lens. Challenges students to develop communication strategies that mitigate the effects of social and structural disparities.
Learning Objectives
Upon successfully completing this course, students will be able to:
  1. Use a communication theoretic perspective to critique the responses of non-profit, governmental and other public health agencies to the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States
  2. Recommend communication strategies appropriate for achieving behavioral change in an emergency response situation
  3. Design appropriate communication content according to audience segmentation principles
  4. Describe the impact of COVID-19 on historically marginalized or vulnerable communities through the lens of cultural values and disparities
  5. Differentiate the COVID-19 experiences of people across the socioeconomic spectrum in terms of access to information and ability to act
Methods of Assessment
This course is evaluated as follows:
  • 10% Participation
  • 10% Discussion
  • 30% Paper(s)
  • 50% Final Project
Special Comments

Course is offered remotely. The individual paper will be due on Sunday 6/28 and the final paper on Sunday 7/26