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Health Communication

Strategies for Developing Global Health Programs

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Edited By Do Kyun Kim, Arvind Singhal and Gary L. Kreps

Promotion of healthy behaviors and prevention of disease are inextricably linked to cultural understandings of health and well-being. Health communication scholarship and practice can substantially and strategically contribute to people living safer, healthier, and happier lives. This book represents a concrete step in that direction by establishing a strategic framework for guiding global and local health practices.
Taking a multi-disciplinary approach, the volume includes state-of-the-art theories that can be applied to health communication interventions and practical guidelines about how to design, implement, and evaluate effective health communication interventions.
Few books have synthesized such a broad range of theories and strategies of health communication that are applicable globally, and also provided clear advice about how to apply such strategies. This volume combines academic research and field experience, guided by past and future research agendas and on-the-ground implementation opportunities.
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Chapter 11 Using Theory and Audience Research to Convey the Human Implications of Climate Change (Melinda R. Weathers, Clemson UniversityEdward Maibach, George Mason UniversityMatthew Nisbet, American University)

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Melinda R. Weathers, Clemson University Edward Maibach, George Mason University Matthew Nisbet, American University

Effective public communication and engagement have played important roles in ameliorating and managing a wide range of public health problems including tobacco and substance use, cardiovascular disease, HIV/AIDS, vaccine preventable diseases, sudden infant death syndrome, and automobile injuries and fatalities (Hornik, 2002; Maibach, Abroms, & Marosits, 2007). Now, there is a rapidly growing need for the public health community to harness what has been learned about effective public communication to alert and engage the public in understanding and responding to climate change. The need is driven by three main factors:

1.The health of Americans is already being harmed by climate change, and the magnitude of this harm is likely to get much worse if effective actions are not soon taken to limit climate change, and to help communities successfully adapt to unavoidable changes in their climate. Therefore, public health organizations and professionals have a responsibility to inform communities about these risks and how these harms can be averted.

2.Historically, climate change public engagement efforts have focused primarily on the environmental dimensions of the threat. These efforts have mobilized an important but still relatively narrow range of Americans, but have also in some cases contributed to strong political disagreement. In contrast, the public health community holds the potential to engage a broader range of Americans, thereby enhancing climate change understanding and decision-making capacity among members of the public, the business community,...

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