Ontario Agency for Health Protection and Promotion Risk Communication Workshop

Publication Summary

The Ontario Agency for Health Protection and Promotion (OAHPP), in collaboration with the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at University of Toronto, hosted Drs. Peter Sandman and Jody Lanard to provide a three-day risk communication workshop in Toronto, Ontario, February 28 – March 2, 2011.

This issue of the Purple Paper presents the “Risk = Hazard + Outrage” formula for risk communication created by Dr. Sandman and highlights some of the key elements of his approach discussed at the workshop.

NCCID Comments:

Drs. Sandman and Lanard’s approach to risk communication is but one of many in the field. While the fundamental principles such as honesty and openness are universal in the field of risk communication, there is generally no consensus on the specific strategies for each risk communication paradigm. “Risk = Hazard + Outrage” serves as a good starting point to get oriented in the field of risk communication, and the best way to find out whether this approach is suitable to our needs is to put it to use. Practice will allow us to both identify gaps and weaknesses in these guidelines, and, more importantly, help us to become skilled risk communicators ourselves.

The recent 2009 influenza A H1N1 pandemic has revealed a great need for risk communication training among public health practitioners. In the attempt to meet this need, NCCID is planning to conduct focus groups and a nationwide needs assessment to determine what roles NCCID and partner organizations can play in a long-term risk communication training and resource program. In the lead-up to these planned activities, we invite public health practitioners to contact us at nccid@icid.com to provide us with some initial thoughts on future risk communication training opportunities:

  • What are some of the specific public health work areas in which you require further risk communication training?
  • In addition to risk communication training workshops, what other resources should be made available to public health practitioners?
  • How should risk communication training workshops be delivered (e.g. webinars, in-person training sessions, on-demand videos, etc.)?