Self-instruction course or tutorial (also in pdf form)

I have not had time to review this course. However: the credentials are good (PanAmerican Health Organization); it’s been on the Internet for awhile. The site includes links to further readings and a glossary. Topics list is comprehensive, too.

Basic aspects of communication
Background and some general considerations
Risk perception
Body language
The planning of risk communication
Community participation and inter-institutional linkaging
Preparing messages
The media
Communication in crises and emergencies

In 2003 PAHO created the Risk Assessment and Management Unit whose purpose is strengthening the countries’s capacity to develop, apply and to evaluate policies and public health interventions to monitor, assess, communicate and control the environmental, occupational and consumers risks.

Since technological development exposes us to a great many risk factors, risk communication plays an essential role in helping all those involved to understand what risk is and learn how to manage it. With this course we seek to construct an interactive information-sharing process which will lead to the creation of local proposals for risk management.

We welcome you warmly to this course. Here you will find orientation on the theory and methodology of risk communication. The elements of risk communication are described, as well as strategies and effective procedures for intervention in this area. Our aim is to develop your skills so that you will be able to draw up communication plans with the target population and obtain an operational and sustainable vision of risk communication. In this course we attempt to do the following:

* Describe the risk communication process as part of risk management methodology.
* Trace the evolution of risk communication and discuss related myths.
* Discuss the components of risk communication; its forms and stages.
* Recognize the importance of risk perception and factors influencing it.
* Define who should be the actors in risk communication, and what their roles should be.
* Define the most effective ways of coping with uncertainty.
* Design a method to evaluate the different stages of the process.
* Define the needs of the risk communication plan according to the community and the problem at hand.
* Identify the professionals and other persons who should take part in the risk communication plan.
* Propose alternative projects for community participation based on networks and social actors.
* Describe methods that will facilitate the sustainability of proposals for intervention, with emphasis on risk communication.
* Determine ways to involve the media as a legitimate partner.
* Explore the most effective ways of managing disputes and emergency situations.
* Describe the importance of body language as an essential factor in communication.
* Conduct practical exercises and case studies relating to the factors of risk communication.
* Facilitate access to different sources of information on the topic (electronic and in print).”

This course was developed in the framework of the CDC/PAHO Project (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of the United States, and the Pan American Health Organization) and is promoted by the Pan American Health Organization, through the Risk Assessment and Management Unit of the Sustainable Development and Environmental Health Area (SDE/PAHO).