2022 To Your Health Panel

To Your Health panel

Watch the recording of the panel "To Your Health! Experts on Fact and Fiction in a Pandemic" that took place on March 9th, 2022. Panelists included:

  • Dr. Joseph Kanter M.D., Chief Medical Officer, Louisiana Health Department
  • Dr. Rupali J. Lamaye Ph.D., MPH, Associate Scientist, Health Information and Communications, Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health
  • Dr. Hollie Hale-Donze Ph.D., Immunologist, Instructor, Louisiana State University
  • Michael Spikes, Media Literacy Specialist, Northwestern University
  • Blake Paterson, Staff Writer, The Advocate | Times-Picayune, Baton Rouge

Some of the takeaways from our panel:

  • Misinformation is a significant risk to public health
    • Decline in the trust of the government, science, and journalism
    • Misinformation spreads farther than truth - fear and emotional reactions
  • Conspiracy theories provide certainty in uncertain situations
    • Need for public to be more comfortable with uncertainty
    • Science is iterative - recommendations change as new information comes out
    • Information couldn't come out fast enough during the pandemic - creation of information vacuum that was filled with misinfo
  • Not all untruths are the same - may be well-intended, not necessarily malicious like a lie - due to a lack of understanding

    • There is a spectrum of vaccine hesitancy - concerns ranging from ingredients, schedule, risk perception, and misconceptions about autism
    • Importance of meeting people where they are and compassion in messaging when addressing vaccine beliefs
      • Grounding in empathy - don't be dismissive of beliefs, understand that they are the victims of bad information
      • Get parents to have conversations - become a peer advocate - importance of 1-on-1 conversations
      • Give facts at levels people can understand
  • Need for collaboration between scientists and journalists, media literacy education to encourage critical analysis of information
    • Social media incentivizes quick reactions and shares - need to teach people to slow down, develop a process of inquiry when assessing information
      • Not about where you get your news from, but developing tools of media literacy
    • Lack of education about scientific methods
      • Speed of vaccine development created mistrust - lack of understanding in verification and safety processes (clinical trials)
    • Scientists aren't trained to talk to the public - people will grab onto the title of a paper and make assumptions without reading the full article
    • Empower and amplify already trusted sources to give correct messaging