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Research Opportunities and Gaps for Health and Science Communication

Thank you to everyone who joined our workshop on May 16! The meeting summary is now available. 

The NIH is conducting planning activities to inform a potential Common Fund research program to support the development, assessment, and implementation of novel approaches to address health and science communication in a changing sociocultural landscape. Highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the urgent need for effective health communication cuts across all areas of health and disease, making this topic particularly suited for an NIH-wide research effort that aims for transformative impact. 

As part of the planning activities, the Common Fund hosted a public workshop on May 16, from 1:00 - 4:00pm ET. This workshop brought together key representatives from multiple sectors with an interest in and that are influenced by health and science communication research to identify research opportunities and gaps that, if addressed, would lead to more effective communication related to health-related behavior. "Health and science communication research," for the purposes of this meeting, includes research related to access to, uptake of, and meaningful use of evidence-based health information; health and science literacy; the spread and impact of health-related misinformation; and the changing information ecosystem characterized by social media and mistrust. This workshop will include discussions from invited panelists and moderators. 


Workshop Agenda 

May 16 - Panel Discussions 

1:00 - 1:10 pm EDT

Federal Priorities for Health Communication Francis CollinsActing Science Advisor to the President
1:10 - 1:15  Introduction and Welcome Christine HunterActing Director of the Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR), NIH
1:15 - 1:20  Overview of the NIH Common Fund Betsy WilderDirector of the Office of Strategic Coordination, NIH

1:20- 2:05

(15 min presentations; 30 min discussion)

Panel 1: Research Gaps and Opportunities in Health/Science Communication

This panel will focus on what panelists see as the biggest opportunities/needs in health/science communication research - what research and/or resources are needed to have a transformative impact on health-related behavior and decision-making?

Moderator: Christine Hunter, OBSSR, NIH


Renee DiResta, Stanford University

Bruce Y Lee, City University of New York

Monica Ponder, Howard University

Valerie Reyna, Cornell University

Vish Viswanath, Harvard School of Public Health/DFCI

2:05 - 2:15 Break  

2:15 - 3:00

(15 min presentations; 30 min discussion)

Panel 2: Leveraging Health Communication Research in Media and Technology Sectors

This panel will focus on how representatives from journalism, marketing, and tech platforms can leverage health communication research - what evidence/resources would help them communicate more effectively about health and science? Additionally, what practices or methods used in media/technology could be leveraged by health communication researchers?

Moderator: Wen-Ying (Sylvia) ChouNational Cancer Institute (NCI), NIH


Tony Foleno, Ad Council

Nira Goren, Google Health

Elizabeth Hair, The Truth Initiative

Naseem Miller, The Journalist's Resource

3:00 - 3:45

(15 min presentations; 30 min discussion)

Panel 3: Perspectives from the Community

This panel will focus on describing the ongoing needs of communities - what are the opportunities for "real world" health/science communication, what research/evidence/resources would enable more effective communication in communities and lead to changes in health-related behaviors?

Moderator: Collene LawhornNational Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), NIH


Cliff Coleman, Oregon Health and Science University

LeShaundra Cordier, Brunet-Garcia Advertising

Frances Feltner, University of Kentucky

Debra Hickman, Center Temple of Baltimore

Alan Wells, Community-Campus Partnerships for Health

3:45 - 4:00 Refocusing a Research Agenda: Reactions to Panels on Scientific Priorities

Moderator: William KleinNCI, NIH

Panelists and discussants

Expert Discussants 

Tara Haelle, independent science/health journalist 

Mandy Hill, University of Texas Houston  

Aisha Langford, New York University  

Allison Lazard, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill 

Michael Mackert, University of Texas Austin 

Xiaoli Nan, University of Maryland 

Megha Ramaswamy, University of Kansas 

Yonaira Rivera, Rutgers University 

Renata Schiavo, Columbia University, Journal of Communication in Healthcare, Health Equity Initiative  

Ralf Schmälzle, Michigan State University 

Brian Southwell, RTI International  

Vivian Tseng, William T. Grant Foundation 

Steve Woloshin, The Dartmouth Institute 

This page last reviewed on September 9, 2022