Podcast explores pandemic messaging effects on perceptions, anxieties, behaviors

Cole Hons
July 09, 2020

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Though the COVID-19 pandemic impacts all people across all nations, individual perceptions and responses to the outbreak have been anything but uniform. Communication around the health crisis has varied wildly, resulting in an inconsistent, ever-evolving and dizzyingly complex situation.

Aiming to better understand the efficacy of public health messaging in a pandemic, a team of Penn State researchers led by Dr. Rob Lennon, associate professor from the College of Medicine, designed and deployed an open-ended survey that has been translated into 23 languages and reached more than 73 countries.

The study, titled “COVID-19 Health Messaging Efficacy and its Impact on Public Perception, Anxiety and Behavior,” was launched In April 2020 through the Huck Institutes’ Coronavirus Seed Fund. The data being collected includes a great amount of qualitative, as well as quantitative information.

“I was surprised at the depth of some of these questions,” said podcast host Cole Hons. “Just the process of taking the survey forced me to really reflect on the pandemic in a new way.”

A Symbiotic Short: Health Messaging In A Pandemic

Aiming to better understand the efficacy of public health messaging in a pandemic, a team of Penn State researchers led by Dr. Rob Lennon, associate professor from the College of Medicine, designed and deployed an unusually open-ended survey that has been translated into 23 languages and reached more than 73 countries.

Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences

On May 20, Huck institutes’ Symbiotic Podcast crew interviewed the research team along with a key partner from the healthcare industry about the global research effort. Joining Lennon for the conversation was Dr. Lauren Van Scoy, a critical care physician from Penn State’s Qualitative and Mixed Methods Core; Cletis Earle, chief information officer for Penn State Health, and Russ Branzell, CEO and president of the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives.

“This work is of urgent importance,” said Lennon, “because public misunderstanding can drive policy decisions that increase patient risk to infectious disease outbreaks.”

The episode is available in audio-only and video form on YouTube, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or any other podcast app. Audio, video and transcripts can be accessed at The Symbiotic Podcast website.

Last Updated July 20, 2020