Critical Considerations for Communicating Public Health Risk in the 21st Century featuring Dr. Viswanath

Dr. Kasisomayajula (“Vish”) Viswanath, Professor of Health Communication in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health and in the McGraw-Patterson Center for Population Sciences at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, led a webinar on public health communication in public health emergencies as part of the INSIGHT COVID-19 course organized by JuniperMD and the China Primary Health Care Foundation and facilitated by the Harvard China Health Partnership.

The class focused on “critical considerations” in communicating risk in the 21st century. The principles and science of risk communication was introduced, and the webinar ended with the implications for practice.


  1. What does the science of risk communication tell us?
    – What is risk?
    – How do people understand risk?
  2. What are key considerations in communicating risk?
    – Proliferation of platforms and misinformation
    – Who generates risk information?
    – Information versus communication
    – “Construction” of information: That is “how” you say a message is as important as “what” you say
  3. Inequalities in health and risk communication outcomes and implications for behavior
  4. Some principles for effective practice


  • A recording of the two hour session is available here.