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Diana Lejardi, MPH


April 26 Governor press release announces DPH is monitoring swine flu outbreak ... Swine flu page on www.ct.gov/ctfluwatch providing ... State the facts ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Diana Lejardi, MPH

Communicating During Novel H1N1 Outbreak
  • Diana Lejardi, MPH
  • Office of Communications

Early Communications
  • April 26 Governor press release announces DPH
    is monitoring swine flu outbreak
  • April 27
  • Swine flu page on www.ct.gov/ctfluwatch providing
    information about the virus and resources for the
  • Governor announces request for SNS assets

  • Press releases updating public of H1N1
    surveillance (probable and confirmed cases,
  • CT Flu Watch Website served as portal of
    information for the public and others
  • Key messages
  • Notices to school officials (including template
    letter to parents)
  • Information to providers regarding testing

  • Connecticut had been preparing for a pandemic,
    but anticipated avian flu
  • Situation was quickly evolving
  • Virus spread very quickly
  • Proximity to NYC brought the virus close to home
  • Not a lot known about the virus
  • Information on cases from Mexico were inaccurate

Communicating in a Crisis is Different
  • High levels of stress
  • Intense demand for information
  • Dealing with the unknown and uncertainty
  • How serious was it?
  • Was it deadly?
  • Should people be very concerned or just aware?
  • Was this the start of a pandemic like in 1918?
  • Dissemination and sharing of timely and accurate
    information among partners important
  • How people process information is different

How Communication Can Add to a Crisis
  • Mixed messages from multiple experts
  • Information released late
  • Paternalistic attitudes
  • Not countering rumors and myths in real-time
  • Public power struggles and confusion

CERC Core Concepts
  • When people are stressed or concerned, they
  • want to know that you care before they care what
    you know
  • have difficulty hearing, understanding, and
    remembering information
  • When people are upset they often distrust that
    others care about them

Accuracy of Information __________ Speed of

Empathy Openness
Trust Factor in High Concern Situations
Listening/Caring/ Empathy 50
Competence/Expertise 15-20
Dedication/ Commitment 15-20
Honesty/ Openness 15-20
Coping with Stress
  • CCO Template (Dr. Vincent Covello)
  • Compassion
  • Conviction
  • Optimism
  • Example We wish the child who has become ill a
    speedy recovery. We will do all that we can to
    ensure the safety and health of our students and
    know that our school will make it through this
    flu season.

Maintain Credibility Despite Uncertainty
  • Say what you DO know
  • State the facts
  • Let people know what you dont know and what you
    are doing to learn about the unknown and/or when
    you think you will know
  • Example I understand that you are concerned we
    cant answer that question right now, BUT heres
    what we are doing to find out . . .

Communicate Quickly
  • Communicate the threat as quickly as possible
  • Let parents and staff learn from you about the
    situation, not the media
  • Be first, be right, be credible.
  • Example We are aware that one of our students
    has tested positive for H1N1. We are working with
    local and state health officials and will inform
    you as more information becomes available.

Key Considerations
  • Learn more about Crisis and Emergency Risk
    Communication at www.ct.gov/dph/cerc
  • Know your partners and coordinate your messages
    with them to avoid confusion that can undermine
    public trust
  • Work with your local health officials

Current Efforts H1N1
  • Education campaign for August October
  • Television and radio PSAs focusing on prevention
  • PSAs will be ready should a vaccine become
  • Outreach to schools and businesses
  • Drives public to
  • CT Flu Watch and 211 for information

For more Information
  • Office of Communications
  • Resources
  • www.ct.gov/ctfluwatch
  • www.ct.gov/dph/cerc
  • 211
  • (860) 509-7270
  • William Gerrish
  • Communications Director
  • william.gerrish_at_ct.gov
  • Diana Lejardi
  • Health Program Associate
  • diana.lejardi_at_ct.gov
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