Research brings analysis and recommendations to health department communicators
The paper “Tweeting a Pandemic: Communicating #COVID19 across the globe,” conducted by seven authors from different universities in the United States and Italy, won the last International Aberje Award. The accolade awards academic studies by foreign researchers related to communication and public relations, revealing trends and practices in this area in Brazil and South America. The result was disclosed on March 6 during the closing ceremony of the 24th International Public Relations Research Conference (IPRRC) which took place virtually this year. The authors – Jeanine Guidry (Ph.D.), Nicole O’Donnell (Ph.D.), Marcus Hill (Ph.D.), and Vivian Medina-Messner (MA) from Virginia Commonwealth University (USA); Shana Meganck (Ph.D.) from James Madison University (US); and Alessandro Lovari (Ph.D.) from the Università di Cagliari (Italy) – were awarded $ 1,000 and the International Aberje Award trophy. About 60 papers applied for the award.
The paper aimed to analyze how health departments in several countries used Twitter in 2020 to warn about Covid-19. The authors recommend developing communication strategies on evidence-based tests and treatments and encouraging departments to interact more in networks to combat misunderstandings and misinformation. They also point out the beneficial use of the Health Belief Model (HBM), a behavior change model developed to explain and predict health-related behaviors, supporting communications. The paper will be available soon on the Aberje Portal.