Social Media

As reported in the ASSET Strategic plan, the three Summer Schools on Science in Society related issues in Pandemics (2015, 2016, 2017) pose the main challenge of the collaborative project overall that is dealing with the intersectoral approach required by the management of Public Health Emergencies of International Concern (PHEIC), like epidemics and pandemics.

Some things just do not want to die. In public health, anti-vaccination movements keep sizzling debates, just as they did in the XIX century. At the same time,  the “deficit model” of science communication – the myth that the “public” is just ignorant and that it would support science, if spoon-fed information from the ivory tower – still haunts the relationship between health, science and the community, despite having been repeatedly debunked. The two zombies are more related than one could believe. Vaccine hesitancy and anti-vaccination movements grow in the cracks between trust and knowledge, and these are the fault lines that communication should heal – or rip apart, if it fails.

During the period between October and December 2016, we used our algorithm to find out the most relevant Twitter influencers about vaccines. We performed a multilevel study to categorize the accounts and to identify the most relevant hashtags.

We analysed 869 accounts and categorized 373 of them:

Tuesday, May 30, 2017 - 09:00

The third edition of the ASSET Summer School will be held at the National Centre for Diseases Prevention and Health Promotion (CNaPPS) of the Istituto Superiore di Sanità (ISS) in Rome from May 30 to June 1, 2017. Pandemics (or more in general public health emergencies of international concern, PHEIC) as well as other major infectious disease outbreaks management do necessarily require a multidisciplinary approach. The ASSET Summer School focuses on

Effective science communication, especially when engaging with genuine two-way discussions with audiences, is quite a complex issue, and far from simple to study. Much of what works and what doesn’t is highly dependent on contingent factors, from what specifically is being communicated, to the social dynamics around the issues, to the political context in which the engagement occurs. This makes deriving general insights and lessons that can be applied across the board particularly challenging.

The internet deals a lot with flu, but mostly talks about care and little about prevention. This is the result of a study made by Voices from the Blogs, a spin-off of the University of Milan, on the web-sentiment on influenza and vaccination in Italy.

Parents, healthcare workers, bloggers and science communicators have launched a positive experience in Italy, with the aim of sharing and promoting scientific information towards an important public health goal: to face the drop in vaccine coverage.

Until the end, it seemed it could sort out to be a happy-ending story, a demonstration of how new social networks, renown for spreading misinformation, can also correct it, when used properly. But the unfortunately predictable finale showed the opposite: counteracting false ideas about vaccines is not that easy. It will take time, a big deal of patience, communication skills and a good, coordinated strategy as well.


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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
Effective communication in outbreak management: development of an evidence-based tool for Europe
Developing the framework for an epidemic forecast infrastructure
European monitoring of excess mortality for public health action
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
Medical ecosystem – personalized event-based surveillance
Public Engagement with Research And Research Engagement with Society
Computing Veracity – the Fourth Challenge of Big Data
Transparent communication in Epidemics: Learning Lessons from experience, delivering effective Messages, providing Evidence