CLTR-905 Communicating Risk and Benefit for Public Health
Spring for 2017-2018
Nancy Ostrove, PhD
Organizations bear economic, legal, and ethical obligations to provide useful information about the risks and benefits of their product, policies, and services.” Risk Communication is a “state-of-the-art” term for communications meant to help people make informed decisions about whether and how to address the risks they encounter. The topics covered in product risk communications, however, typically should not solely be about risk, in that people must understand product-related benefits to be able to effectively evaluate product-related risks. Communications about public health product risks and benefits focus on accuracy and comprehensiveness, thereby differing significantly from typical public relations and many public affairs communications. Regulatory Science should prepare health professionals and the public to make informed decisions about medical, food, and tobacco products. This course will introduce students to the complexities of planning, implementing, and evaluating risk communications in circumstances where all public communications are affected by varying regulatory and legal constraints. The course will explore the perspectives of different key actors, including product developers, manufacturers, advertisers, regulators, and users – both professional and non-professional. The course will introduce critical concepts through didactic lecture (exposing students to core strategies, considerations, and the analyses required to develop and test effective risk communications) and discussion. Students will discuss real-world risk communications examples, and will identify areas where different strategies might have had different effects. Using concepts learned from the course, students prepare a project to present describing an ideal process for planning, implementing, and evaluating a risk communication for a specific new medical product, the characteristics of which will be developed with as-needed assistance of course director(s). Students’ ability to apply the lessons, classroom discussion, and readings also will be evaluated from responses to a midterm exam, class presentation, and communication-relevant assignment.
Credits: 2
Prerequisites: None

Sections:

CLTR-905-01 Communicating Risk and Benefit for Public Health
Spring for 2017-2018
Erin E. Wilhelm
Organizations bear economic, legal, and ethical obligations to provide useful information about the risks and benefits of their product, policies, and services.” Risk Communication is a “state-of-the-art” term for communications meant to help people make informed decisions about whether and how to address the risks they encounter. The topics covered in product risk communications, however, typically should not solely be about risk, in that people must understand product-related benefits to be able to effectively evaluate product-related risks. Communications about public health product risks and benefits focus on accuracy and comprehensiveness, thereby differing significantly from typical public relations and many public affairs communications. Regulatory Science should prepare health professionals and the public to make informed decisions about medical, food, and tobacco products. This course will introduce students to the complexities of planning, implementing, and evaluating risk communications in circumstances where all public communications are affected by varying regulatory and legal constraints. The course will explore the perspectives of different key actors, including product developers, manufacturers, advertisers, regulators, and users – both professional and non-professional. The course will introduce critical concepts through didactic lecture (exposing students to core strategies, considerations, and the analyses required to develop and test effective risk communications) and discussion. Students will discuss real-world risk communications examples, and will identify areas where different strategies might have had different effects. Using concepts learned from the course, students prepare a project to present describing an ideal process for planning, implementing, and evaluating a risk communication for a specific new medical product, the characteristics of which will be developed with as-needed assistance of course director(s). Students’ ability to apply the lessons, classroom discussion, and readings also will be evaluated from responses to a midterm exam, class presentation, and communication-relevant assignment.
Credits: 2
Prerequisites: None
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