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TOPHC 2021 Fall Workshop: Risk Communications

This workshop will focus on risk communication and community engagement (RCCE) as an essential public health function in health emergency preparedness and response planning. For public health emergencies, including the COVID-19 pandemic, risk communication is a critical component throughout different stages that include preparedness, response and recovery. 

The goals of risk communication are to facilitate informed decision making, influence positive changes in public behavior, increase and maintain public trust, enhance public health policy and improve the health of the population. This workshop will illustrate key challenges, principles and tactics using real-life examples from COVID-19.

Intended audience: This 2-hour session is designed for public health staff in Ontario whose work is directly or indirectly related to risk communication and/or community engagement.

By the end of this session, participants will be able to:

  1. Define risk communication and community engagement.
  2. Identify opportunities and priorities for community and stakeholder collaboration.
  3. Understand key challenges for RCCE during public health emergencies.
  4. Identify evidence-based RCCE principles, tools, and tactics for addressing challenges and adapting locally by:
  • managing uncertainty
  • building and maintaining trust (including community engagement)
  • listening and responding to community concerns and perceptions (including community engagement)

Présentateur(s): Dr. Marsha Vanderford

Dr. Marsha L. Vanderford is the former Director of Communications at the World Health Organization (WHO) where she led the emergency communication response to Zika virus and Yellow Fever, provided cross-agency communication oversight for the Yemen cholera crises, the 2017 Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) Ebola outbreak and the humanitarian crises in Nigeria and Syria. 

Since retiring from the WHO in 2017, Dr. Vanderford has served as a risk communication consultant for organizations including the WHO, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Food and Agriculture Organization, the Task Force for Global Health, and public health agencies in Myanmar and the Bahamas.

Dr. Vanderford currently serves on the 2019 WHO International Health Regulations Emergency Committee for Ebola in DRC. Previously, she was the Communications Lead for CDC’s Global Health Center and the Chief of CDC’s Emergency Risk Communication Branch. In these roles she led CDC’s communication response during multiple public health emergencies including foodborne disease outbreaks, hurricanes, the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, and the 2009-10 H1N1 Influenza pandemic. She earned her Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota.


Avis de non-responsabilité

The opinions expressed by speakers and moderators do not necessarily reflect the official policies or views of Public Health Ontario, nor does the mention of trade names, commercial practices, or organizations imply endorsement by Public Health Ontario.


Public Health Ontario is committed to complying with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA). If you require accommodations to participate in this event, please contact 647-260-7100 or capacitybuilding@oahpp.ca .

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Mis à jour le 22 sept. 2021