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United States Department of

Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response

Using Risk Communications
in...
ASPR brings together policy, science, and
emergency operations

ASPR: Resilient People. Healthy Communities. A Nation Prep...
Events are unpredictable, and each is a chance
to improve for the next

Bioterrorism
Act

2001 2002

National
Health
Secur...
Being a resilient nation takes all of us

ASPR: Resilient People. Healthy Communities. A Nation Prepared.
Anatomy of a Crisis

• Uncertainty
• Heightened public emotions
•
•

(fear, anxiety, denial, outrage)
Limited access to fa...
Risk

• Risk – a threat to that which we value
─
─
─
─
─
─
─

Individual health and well-being
Loved ones
Property
Job
Rep...
Risk Perception

• Scientists, risk managers, businesses, etc:
─ Evidence-based

• General public:
─
─
─
─
─
─

Personal
S...
Influences on the Acceptability of Risk

Less Acceptable:
Low trust
Benefits not clear
Not controllable
Involuntary exposu...
Risk Perception

Lifetime risk of dying from…
Heart Disease

1 in 5

Cancer

1 in 7

Stroke

1 in 24

Car Accident

1 in 8...
What is Crisis Communications?

• Communications activities of an organization or agency
facing a crisis

• Typically, a c...
Risk Communications

• Exchange of information about real or perceived threats

• Provides information on expected positiv...
What is Risk Communications?
• Through risk communications, the communicator hopes to provide
the audience with informatio...
Today’s Media Environment

• Global, instant ―breaking news‖ environment

• In United States alone, 70,000 media outlets
•...
Social Media
Uses

• Messaging
• Monitoring
• Surveillance
• Instantaneous and
unfiltered

ASPR: Resilient People. Healthy...
Putting Principles into Practice

• Express empathy and caring
• Acknowledge people’s fear
• Explain what you know AND
•
•...
2009 H1N1 Flu Communications
Strategy

• The HHS response to 2009 H1N1 pandemic
was led by science and continually evolved...
2009 H1N1 Principles

• As the most trusted source for public health information,

•
•
•

we decided that the Centers for ...
Risk Communications is used in the
public sector and the private sector
Dear Target Guest,
As you may have heard or read, ...
Resources

• Crisis and Emergency Risk
•
•

•

Communications
CDC training program—in
person or on-demand online
Draws fro...
ASPR on the Web

PHE.gov:
www.phe.gov

Facebook:
www.facebook.com/phegov

PHE.gov Newsroom:
www.phe.gov/newsroom

YouTube:...
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Using Risk Communications in a Crisis - Federal Communicators Network February 6, 2014

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Gretchen Michael, of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, presented these slides at a Federal Communicators Network event on February 6, 2014.

Published in: Health & Medicine
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Using Risk Communications in a Crisis - Federal Communicators Network February 6, 2014

  1. 1. United States Department of Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response Using Risk Communications in a Crisis Federal Communicators Network February 6, 2014 Gretchen Michael, JD Director of Communications Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response U.S. Department of Health and Human Service 1
  2. 2. ASPR brings together policy, science, and emergency operations ASPR: Resilient People. Healthy Communities. A Nation Prepared. 2 2
  3. 3. Events are unpredictable, and each is a chance to improve for the next Bioterrorism Act 2001 2002 National Health Security Strategy PAHPA Project BioShield 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 H1N1 Pandemic MCM Enterprise Review 2010 2011 Deepwater Horizon 2012 2011 Tornadoes 2013 H7N9 Boston bombings 9/11 and Anthrax Katrina, Rita, Wilma Re-emerging H5N1 Japan Earthquake Nuclear Event Ike, Gustav Haiti earthquake ASPR: Resilient People. Healthy Communities. A Nation Prepared. Hurricanes Isaac and Sandy 3
  4. 4. Being a resilient nation takes all of us ASPR: Resilient People. Healthy Communities. A Nation Prepared.
  5. 5. Anatomy of a Crisis • Uncertainty • Heightened public emotions • • (fear, anxiety, denial, outrage) Limited access to facts Rumor, gossip, speculation, assumption, and inference • = Unstable information environment ASPR: Resilient People. Healthy Communities. A Nation Prepared. 5
  6. 6. Risk • Risk – a threat to that which we value ─ ─ ─ ─ ─ ─ ─ Individual health and well-being Loved ones Property Job Reputation Credit rating Personal information ASPR: Resilient People. Healthy Communities. A Nation Prepared. 6
  7. 7. Risk Perception • Scientists, risk managers, businesses, etc: ─ Evidence-based • General public: ─ ─ ─ ─ ─ ─ Personal Social Cultural Moral Psychological Emotional ASPR: Resilient People. Healthy Communities. A Nation Prepared. 7
  8. 8. Influences on the Acceptability of Risk Less Acceptable: Low trust Benefits not clear Not controllable Involuntary exposure No alternatives Unfair distribution Dreaded consequence Affects children Human origin High media concern High symbolism More Acceptable: High trust Benefits understood Individual control Voluntary exposure Alternatives available Fair distribution Common consequence Affects everyone Natural origin Low media concern Low symbolism • Source: Slovic, Fischhoff et al ASPR: Resilient People. Healthy Communities. A Nation Prepared. 8
  9. 9. Risk Perception Lifetime risk of dying from… Heart Disease 1 in 5 Cancer 1 in 7 Stroke 1 in 24 Car Accident 1 in 84 Fall 1 in 200 Drowning 1 in 1,100 Commercial Aircraft 1 in 5,000 Lighting 1 in 80,000 Shark Attack 1 in 3,750,000 ASPR: Resilient People. Healthy Communities. A Nation Prepared. 9
  10. 10. What is Crisis Communications? • Communications activities of an organization or agency facing a crisis • Typically, a crisis ─ ─ ─ ─ Occurs unexpectedly May not be in the organization’s control Requires an immediate response May cause harm to the organization’s reputation, image or viability ASPR: Resilient People. Healthy Communities. A Nation Prepared.
  11. 11. Risk Communications • Exchange of information about real or perceived threats • Provides information on expected positive/negative outcomes and their probability • Empowers decision making ASPR: Resilient People. Healthy Communities. A Nation Prepared. 11
  12. 12. What is Risk Communications? • Through risk communications, the communicator hopes to provide the audience with information about the expected type (good or bad) and magnitude (weak or strong) of an outcome from a behavior or exposure. • Typically, through risk communications, the communicator hopes to provide the audience with information about adverse outcomes, including probabilities of those outcomes occurring. ─ Should I undergo a medical treatment? ─ What are the risks of living next to a nuclear power plant? ─ Do I elect to vaccinate a healthy baby against whooping cough ASPR: Resilient People. Healthy Communities. A Nation Prepared. 12
  13. 13. Today’s Media Environment • Global, instant ―breaking news‖ environment • In United States alone, 70,000 media outlets • News cycle is 24/7 no news cycle; • deadlines are immediate. • Social media ASPR: Resilient People. Healthy Communities. A Nation Prepared. 13
  14. 14. Social Media Uses • Messaging • Monitoring • Surveillance • Instantaneous and unfiltered ASPR: Resilient People. Healthy Communities. A Nation Prepared. 14
  15. 15. Putting Principles into Practice • Express empathy and caring • Acknowledge people’s fear • Explain what you know AND • • • • what you don’t know Don’t over reassure Be honest, frank and open Give people actions they can take Make a public commitment to gather and share information as it becomes available ASPR: Resilient People. Healthy Communities. A Nation Prepared. 15
  16. 16. 2009 H1N1 Flu Communications Strategy • The HHS response to 2009 H1N1 pandemic was led by science and continually evolved to meet the nation’s needs as events unfolded and more information became available • HHS’ mission to protect public health was supported by a communication strategy that is based on the emergency risk communications principles of quickly, proactively and transparently communicating accurate information to the public and partners. • We decided that, as the most trusted source for public health information, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would be the day-to-day face of information about the 2009 H1N1 Pandemic ASPR: Resilient People. Healthy Communities. A Nation Prepared. 16
  17. 17. 2009 H1N1 Principles • As the most trusted source for public health information, • • • we decided that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would be the day-to-day face of information about the 2009 H1N1 Pandemic This strategy included stating clearly goals and actions in response to the evolving situation and acknowledging what was NOT known. We also tried to set expectations that information and advice would change quickly as the situation evolved. Developed Flu.gov, a one-stop-shop across for the federal government for all information on H1N1 influenza ASPR: Resilient People. Healthy Communities. A Nation Prepared. 17
  18. 18. Risk Communications is used in the public sector and the private sector Dear Target Guest, As you may have heard or read, Target learned in midWhat you December that criminals forced their way into our know and systems and took guest information, including debit and what you credit card data. Late last week, as part of our ongoing don’t know investigation, we learned that additional information, including name, mailing address, phone number or email address, was also taken. I am writing to make Honesty you aware that your name, mailing address, phone number or email address may have been taken during the intrusion. Empathy I am truly sorry this incident occurred and sincerely regret any inconvenience it may cause you. Because we value you as a guest and your trust is important to us, Target is offering one year of free credit monitoring How to protect to all Target guests who shopped in U.S. stores, yourself through Experian’s® ProtectMyID® product which includes identity theft insurance where available. … Thank you for your patience and loyalty to Target. You can find additional information and FAQs about this Where to go incident at our Target.com/databreach website. If you for more have further questions, you may call us at …. information ASPR: Resilient People. Healthy Communities. A Nation Prepared. 18
  19. 19. Resources • Crisis and Emergency Risk • • • Communications CDC training program—in person or on-demand online Draws from lessons learned during public health emergencies and incorporates best practices from the fields of risk and crisis communication http://www.bt.cdc.gov/cerc/ ASPR: Resilient People. Healthy Communities. A Nation Prepared. 19
  20. 20. ASPR on the Web PHE.gov: www.phe.gov Facebook: www.facebook.com/phegov PHE.gov Newsroom: www.phe.gov/newsroom YouTube: www.youtube.com/phegov Flickr: www.flickr.com/phegov Twitter: twitter.com/phegov ASPR: Resilient People. Healthy Communities. A Nation Prepared. 20

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