In 2015, through the program Emerging Leaders in Science and Society (ELISS), I worked on an interdisciplinary team with 14 other graduate students from around the country (Stanford, Penn, Purdue, University of Washington) on a key question: How do we develop effective channels to manage trust, fear, and accurate communication during epidemics in the age of digital communication?
In each of our respective locations, we convened local stakeholders to discuss communication strategies taken and challenges faced by their community in the event of an epidemic crisis. Our insights from our local contexts were presented in Washington D.C. at our forum “Re-imagining Epidemic Communication Strategies” to share information and ideas between the local and national levels and to create new channels and strategies for communicating health information during an epidemic crisis. We convened stakeholders from government agencies such as Health and Human Services and nonprofits such as the National Association of County and City Health Officials. The goals were to learn how different communication strategies have been used in epidemic response and preparedness at the national stage, and how they can be implemented to maximize collaboration across cities and government programs.