TELL ME is a 36 month Collaborative Project, aimed to provide evidence and to develop models for improved risk communication during infectious disease crises. TELL ME combined public health, social sciences, behavioral sciences, political sciences, law, ethics, communication and media, in order to develop original communication strategies regarding complicated messages and advice based on uncertainties, also addressing vaccine-resistant groups. 

During infection outbreaks, one of the major problems has always been to communicate with the population in order to influence behaviors, reduce the spread of disease and avoid panic. For centuries the communication strategy adopted by authorities dealing with infectious outbreaks was chiefly based on denial and verbal reassurances, followed, in a further phase, by restrictive measures (quarantine, isolation, compulsory hospitalization) and sanctions for non compliant individuals. The increasing recognition that human behaviour critically influences infectious disease transmission led to concentrate efforts on education and prescriptive messages.

Yet recommendations were soon recognized as insufficient, people needed to be also “persuaded” by emotional messages. The focus then shifted on public health propaganda. As the rapid and tumultuous progress in biological sciences, computer sciences, information technologies, and the naissance of a global public health governance, are offering new, surprising, opportunities for the containment of infectious disease outbreaks, there is the danger that we fail to take advantage of these opportunities, only getting their “adverse effects”. We need instead to understand how maximizing opportunities and minimizing risks, notably we should learn to exploit the huge potential that the info society may offer in terms of evidence based and participatory communication. This is the first lesson, that one should get from communication failures occurred during the 2009 influenza H1N1 pandemic. A real paradigm shift has occurred, new challenges must be addressed, new models should be developed: this is the pivotal concept that has driven the consortium to propose the TELL ME project.

MMLAP and other EU Projects

Health system analysis to support capacity development in response to the threat of pandemic influenza in Asia
Making society an active participant in water adaptation to global change
Public Participation in Developing a Common Framework for Assessment and Management of Sustainable Innovation
Engaging all of Europe in shaping a desirable and sustainable future
Expect the unexpected and know how to respond
Driving innovation in crisis management for European resilience
Effective communication in outbreak management: development of an evidence-based tool for Europe
Solutions to improve CBRNe resilience
Network for Communicable Disease Control in Southern Europe and Mediterranean Countries
Developing the framework for an epidemic forecast infrastructure
Strengthening of the national surveillance system for communicable diseases
Surveillance of vaccine preventable hepatitis
European monitoring of excess mortality for public health action
European network for highly infectious disease
Dedicated surveillance network for surveillance and control of vaccine preventable diseases in the EU
Modelling the spread of pandemic influenza and strategies for its containment and mitigation
Cost-effectiveness assessment of european influenza human pandemic alert and response strategies
Bridging the gap between science, stakeholders and policy makers
Promotion of immunization for health professionals in Europe
Towards inclusive research programming for sustainable food innovations
Addressing chronic diseases and healthy ageing across the life cycle
Medical ecosystem – personalized event-based surveillance
Studying the many and varied economic, social, legal and ethical aspects of the recent developments on the Internet, and their consequences for the individual and society at large
Get involved in the responsible marine research and innovation
Knowledge-based policy-making on issues involving science, technology and innovation, mainly based upon the practices in Parliamentary Technology Assessment
Assessment of the current pandemic preparedness and response tools, systems and practice at national, EU and global level in priority areas
Analysis of innovative public engagement tools and instruments for dynamic governance in the field of Science in Society
Public Engagement with Research And Research Engagement with Society
Computing Veracity – the Fourth Challenge of Big Data
Providing infrastructure, co-ordination and integration of existing clinical research networks on epidemics and pandemics
Promote vaccinations among migrant population in Europe
Creating mechanisms for effectively tackling the scientific and technology related challenges faced by society
Improve the quality of indoor air, keeping it free from radon
Improving respect of ethics principles and laws in research and innovation, in line with the evolution of technologies and societal concerns
Investigating how cities in the West securitise against global pandemics
Creating a structured dialogue and mutual learning with citizens and urban actors by setting up National Networks in 10 countries across Europe
Identifying how children can be change agents in the Science and Society relationship
Establishing an open dialogue between stakeholders concerning synthetic biology’s potential benefits and risks
Transparent communication in Epidemics: Learning Lessons from experience, delivering effective Messages, providing Evidence