Community-based Organizations as Effective Partners in the Battle Against Misinformation
Korin MR, Araya F, Idris MY, Brown H, Claudio L. Community-based Organizations as effective partners in the battle against misinformation. Front Public Health 15 March 2022. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpubh.2022.853736
SUMMARY: Misinformation has real-world implications on population health in today's fast-changing pandemic environment. Traditionally, professional middlemen such as reporters and formal media outlets were placed between information creators and the public. We no longer have these intermediates, allowing disinformation to spread. Public health information is frequently not customized to the needs of those most at risk, exacerbating health inequities and increasing suspicion and skepticism.
While public health authorities sometimes employ community-based organizations (CBOs) for outreach activities, they lose opportunities to actively engage them in all phases of the Health Communication Cycle. Fighting the infodemic requires many steps, including understanding what information is required, producing suitable and relevant messages, and sharing these messages in ways that are tailored to the recipients. Community-based organizations are already trustworthy bodies thoroughly engaged in the communities they serve and can help counteract disinformation. As a result of their unique and intangible characteristics and inroads in the communities they serve, CBOs are ideally positioned to play an active part in the health communication cycle, encouraging health equality. Thus, to successfully communicate and fight against health misinformation, particularly in groups with deep-seated mistrust or inadequate health literacy, we must incorporate and engage CBOs in all parts of health communication.
In this new opinion paper, co-written by our research team and our community partners, we provide background to support engaging CBOs in addressing health literacy and ehealth equity.
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Dr. Luz Claudio is an environmental health scientist, mother and consultant, originally from Puerto Rico. She is a tenured professor of environmental medicine and public health. Luz recently published her first book: How to Write and Publish a Scientific Paper: The Step-by-Step Guide. Dr. Claudio has internship programs and resources for young scientists. Opinions expressed in this blog are solely her own and may not reflect her employer's views.