Communication as an Essential Component of Environmental Health Science

By Beato, Ricardo R.; Telfer, Jana | Journal of Environmental Health, July-August 2010 | Go to article overview

Communication as an Essential Component of Environmental Health Science


Beato, Ricardo R., Telfer, Jana, Journal of Environmental Health


The science of health communication is becoming as central to the field of environmental health as the science of epidemiology. Within the 21st century, such events as Hurricane Katrina, H1N1 influenza, and concerns about chemical exposure in imported drywall have demonstrated the value of communication as a means of protecting public health. When such events occur, health professionals must seek disease control interventions but also address audiences' information needs. Health communication science is an essential underpinning for such activities.

Health communication science provides a research-based foundation for developing strategies to inform and influence individual and community health decisions. The use of research adds scientific rigor to health communication planning and implementation. Health communication professionals are uniquely trained and qualified to conduct communication research, develop effective and duplicable health promotion strategies and campaigns, and evaluate communication effectiveness.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) included health communication science among the Healthy People 2010 objectives. HHS states that during the first decade of the 21st century, health communication has been an essential contributor to improved personal and community health. Public health professionals must continue to build an accessible, robust reservoir of high-quality, audience-appropriate environmental health information tailored to segments of the population, especially the underserved. Additionally, because environmental health events often are highly visible and polarizing, environmental health professionals would benefit from receiving training in health and risk communication, effective communication methods, and emerging communication technologies.

The HHS mandate also reflects a growing realization that health communication science has made substantial contributions to environmental health. Communication science has helped to develop such enhancements to public health practice as

* a large body of health communication research,

* risk communication tools and methods,

* methods for communicating effectively with news media and other audiences,

* audience segmentation tools to reach culturally and linguistically diverse communities, and

* plain language and other tools to improve health literacy

These contributions have improved public health message delivery and promoted behavior change. For example, communication helped to address successfully a recent outbreak of cryptosporidium in Utah and Texas.

The practice of communicating with and engaging communities directly makes environmental health unique. Communication of health interventions and recommendations must reach defined segments within affected communities. Environmental health communicators need to collaborate closely with public health scientists to formulate and deliver information and recommendations to affected communities. Messages need to consider literacy and educational levels, audience demographics, local beliefs and values, socioeconomic issues, and discrimination, as well as the potential for stigma that may be attached to issues.

The evolving science of health communication is not without challenges. One such challenge is the notion that health communication is a "soft science." Occasionally, environmental scientists believe they already are effective health communicators, and they may bypass health communication professionals. Such actions have led to difficulties in message delivery and community interaction. The professional environmental health community would benefit from establishing a culture in which health communication is an essential component of environmental health science and communication specialists are as indispensible as toxicologists, epidemiologists, or medical officers.

Yet before such a goal can be attained, health communication science must overcome a number of challenges. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Communication as an Essential Component of Environmental Health Science
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.