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Public Health Messaging in an Era of Social Media

Educational Objective
To identify the key insights or developments described in this article
1 Credit CME

Public health organizations have always used messaging to educate the public in an attempt to control the spread of epidemic diseases. Early efforts that relied on word-of-mouth communication and poster campaigns transitioned to radio and television as those technologies emerged, yet these forms of communication likely have become less effective in a crowded, noisy, and confrontational online environment. Over the past decade, emerging digital platforms have become sophisticated, targeted, and responsive in reaching and influencing the public.

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CME Disclosure Statement: Unless noted, all individuals in control of content reported no relevant financial relationships. If applicable, all relevant financial relationships have been mitigated.

Article Information

Corresponding Author: Raina M. Merchant, MD, MSHP, University of Pennsylvania, 3400 Civic Center Blvd, Philadelphia, PA 19104 (raina.merchant@pennmedicine.upenn.edu).

Published Online: January 4, 2021. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.24514

Conflict of Interest Disclosures: Dr Merchant is funded by grant R01HL141844 from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, grant R01HG009655 from the National Human Genome Research Institute, and grant R21 1DA050761 from the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Dr South is funded by award 76233 from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Harold Amos Medical Faculty Development Program. Dr Lurie is an employee of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovation.

Additional Information: Dr Lurie served as Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response in the US Department of Health and Human Services from 2009 to 2017.

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