Effective Risk Communication During Public Health Emergencies: A Community of Practice for HHS Health Communicators

Increasing capacity of trained communicators to respond to public health emergencies

Executive Summary

Delivering the right message at the right moment is a critical part of emergency response missions. In recent large-scale and long-term emergencies, CDC has emptied the pool of trained health communicators with the right skill and language sets to deploy to affected areas. The development of a risk communication Community of Practice would enable health communicators in any HHS Operating Division to learn risk communication principles that could be used in exercises, agency responses, and deployments to the field. With a large pool of trained communicators, HHS would be able to more effectively respond to complex public health emergencies.

Team Members

Richard Jones (team lead), CDC
Mackenzie Zendt, CDC
Meah Al-Shawaf, CDC


October 2018: Project selected into the HHS Ignite Accelerator
June 2019: Time in Accelerator Began
September 2019: Time in Accelerator Ended