Building Public Understanding of Population Health Science – Insights from a unique new collaboration

Building Public Understanding of Population Health Science – Insights from a unique new collaboration

Author: Merryn McKinnon – Australian National University, Australia

Anita Beck – Questacon – The National Science and Technology Ce
Will Grant – Australian National University
Christine O’Connell – Stony Brook University New York
Andrew Pleasant – Health Literacy Media
Samantha Rowbotham – University of Sydney

If science communication theory and practice were applied to population health science, what would happen? This roundtable discussion explores an innovative partnership between the Australian Prevention Partnership Centre and the Centre for the Public Awareness of Science at the Australian National University. The first of its kind internationally, this project is attempting to build a new field of population health science communication.

The purpose of public health policies is to keep people healthy and out of hospital. But do the public accept this premise? Indeed, do they think about health policy at all? Population health science aims to provide equitable health outcomes for all publics, but the communication originating from population health tends to focus on policy makers. Science communicators may work with policy makers, but their primary audience are the various publics. This project aimed to blend the two audiences via a variety of internships, producing communication outputs about population health science created by professionals external to population health.

These internships have explored the use of podcasts as a mechanism for telling the stories of the science which underpin policy; how fundamental concepts of public health can be explored via a science centre exhibit, and the sometimes curious relationship between science communication and journalism. This roundtable discussion will explore the utility of ‘population health science communication’ as a field, and the assumptions, barriers and opportunities that were discovered along the way.

The author has not yet submitted a copy of the full paper.

Presentation type: Roundtable discussion
Theme: Society
Area of interest: Applying science communication research to practice