Misunderstood: How Public Health’s Inability To Communicate Keeps Communities Unhealthy

Federal, state, and local public health leaders are advising, and making decisions that impact, our schools, businesses, faith communities, and nearly all aspects of our lives. The public’s willingness to accept and act on this guidance is dependent on how people perceive the credibility of public health leaders. This is absolutely critical during the COVID-19 pandemic, when efforts to update recommendations based on new information about the virus are hindered by widespread misinformation and politicization.

Research conducted by the FrameWorks Institute suggests that public health leaders lacked the relationships needed to engender familiarity and trust from leaders of key sectors—long before the beginning of the pandemic. This research, made possible with support from the de Beaumont Foundation and the Aspen Institute, found that leaders working in education, health care, housing, and business are largely unclear about what public health professionals do and about their potential to add value to

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