In this unit, students learn how to communicate effectively with respect to health risks, both to individuals with health concerns, and with respect to risks to the public. The first half covers individual health risk communication in clinical settings, including: theories of health communication, patient centred care and shared decision making; evidence-based communication skills; research paradigms including interaction analysis; cross-cultural communication in health care; discussing prognosis; and informed consent. The second half explores risk communication for public health, including: how to effectively manage outbreak or other crisis situations; how to communicate about issues where the risk is low but public concern is high (such as with respect to the fluoridation of water); and how to best manage controversies. We teach theories of risk perception and communication with particular application to public health incident responses. We give practical guides to media messages, risk message framing, public engagement, traditional and social media, and the ethical aspects of public communication. The unit offers students the opportunity to learn from outstanding guest lecturers who work in these areas and interactive opportunities for students to try their skills in risk communication and decision making.
Block/intensive: 2 x 2 days (9am-5pm each day); please check with the coordinator for scheduling
Assignment 1: 1 x 2500 word (35%), Assignment 2: 1 x 2500 words or equivalent (35%), online activities (30%). Attendance at the intensives is compulsory and 80% attendance is required to pass the unit of study.
Students are provided with a list of readings (in digital format). Most supplementary readings can be accessed through the library or online.