• If you are citizen of an European Union member nation, you may not use this service unless you are at least 16 years old.

  • You already know Dokkio is an AI-powered assistant to organize & manage your digital files & messages. Very soon, Dokkio will support Outlook as well as One Drive. Check it out today!



Page history last edited by Thomas Barker 15 years, 3 months ago

  TTU Library Home Page

Risk Communication for Flu Pandemics

This wiki supports a joing research initiative between Dr. Thomas Barker, Technical Communication and Rhetoric Program, Texas Tech Unviersity, and Capital Health, Edmonton, AL, Canada. 


Project Title: Modeling Public Participation in Health Risk Communication: Emergency Preparedness for Flu Pandemics in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.


The purpose of the proposed leave is to conduct research in public health crisis risk communication: specifically, emergency preparedness for flu pandemics and to answer the question: “What is the nature of public participation in health emergency preparedness?” Research activities will consist of interviews with members of the public who comprise the audience for pandemic emergency preparedness documents created by the Office of Emergency Preparedness of Capital Health in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. The research plan is to participate as an invited researcher in OEP public informational meetings and presentations, and to interview members of the public who attend these meetings. Objectives of the research are, first, to describe and analyze the element of public participation in emergency preparedness and risk communication, second, to build a model of public involvement in risk communication useful for communication design and event-specific analyses of health crises, and, third, to advance our knowledge of qualitative research methodologies in crisis risk communication. 10/07


Objectives 10/07


1. Describe patterns of public perception of health emergencies, emergency preparedness, and response to emergencies across social sectors

Strategy: Interview persons who have received emergency preparedness information

Strategy: Interview communicators who write risk communication documents and coordinate emergency preparedness Strategy: Analyze risk communication documents


2. Build a model of individual action and responsibility to health emergencies across social sectors

Strategy: Analyze interview transcriptions for cultural and contextually meaningful content

Strategy: Analyze the social and economic context surrounding public health emergencies

Strategy: Establish theoretical guidelines for shaping the interaction of institutional objectives and public objectives


3. Establish methodologies for crisis risk communication research

Strategy: Adapt proven activity modeling methodologies to measure effective public risk communication




One of the interesting phenomena of emergency response among the public is what Palen, et. al. call "citizen-generated information" (CGI).  The corresponding information would be called "agency-generated information. (AGI)." The following questions are based on Palen, et. al., "Online Forums Supporting Grassroots Participation in Emergency Preparedness and Response." (2007)  Not all these are questions that could be addressed by this project. 1/28/08





  • What can be done to increase the interoperability of citizen-generated information technologies? How do CGI technologies interact with one another?
  • How can CGI be monitored and augmented to make it more authentic?
  • How can CGI be made more usable by publics and public health agencies?  What kinds of training would stakeholders (including health service providers and the public) need to handle CGI?   (From Manoj, 2007, p. 52)
  • What organizational structures need to be in place to incorporate information from and coorinate with multiple sources of information (represented by CGI and health service providers?


More questions for this project.


  • How can information be culturally validated?  What is the relationship of culture to information technologies?  Does culture validate the information technology?  (From Manoj, 2007, p. 53)
  • What can public health organizations do now to prepare for handling CGI in the event of a flu pandemic?
  • What vocabularies, language, and symbol systems exist and do those used in CGI necessarily match those of the health care information provider?
  • How can heirarchical, static organizations interact with flatter, dynamic, ad-hoc organizations such as are represented by CGI systems?  Is there a hubrid model?  (I think there is, as can be identified using activity theory.)
  • How can AGI appear truthful amidst competing truth claims from CGI?


What are the kinds of communciation issues that are faced during a flu pandemic? This is a brainstorming list.  The idea is to think of the kinds of issues that make flu pandemics unique as public emergency events. These are the content items of both CGI and AGI.


  • location of health services
  • nature of health services available
  • diagnosis of need for health care services
  • degree of risk  (This could include a number of risk variables:  strength of strain, scope of infection, vulnerability of various groups, and so on.)
  • information about home treatment (if possibles, to reduce the numbers of patients presenting at crowded health service facilities)
  • dealing with victims, disposal of remains
  • event statistics (This is a large set of data, some of which would be created by citizens and some by agencies.)
  • where to get information and support (in addition to where to get health services)
  • where to get resources like food and materials if public services are unavailabe and citizens are self-quarantined
  • information about vaccines
  • what is appropriate precautionary behavior, hygene, other things people can do to protect themselves and their families


Ideas for the model




  1. Agencies are well coordinated and integrated in their planning.  Communities and everyday citizens are not well coordinated and integrated. Leagues, groups, schools, family physicians, urban agencies do little, if any real planning for pandemic flu.
  2. Citizens and functional citizen units (agencies and clients, social work agencies and clients, community leagues and members, and so on) have the ability to mobilize:  contact lists, networks, friends sites, and so on represent the ability to share tools and informaiton and create knowledge.



Agency Citizens
Planning model Mobilization model
Strategy: stockpile  Strategy: invent 
proactive reactive
future real-time
active passive to active
standing  ad-hoc 


Primary contradiction:  masks


Materials producded by AHS for the public say no masks.  "Currently, there are no recommendations from Public Health for use of masks by the general public."  On the other hand, primary care physicians and doctors and other health care givers have been supplied with masks and "fitted."   




Comments (0)

You don't have permission to comment on this page.