Communicating Infectious Diseases Conference Kicks off at Hong Kong University
26 June 2013
Diary of an Intern at CNN International
28 June 2013

JMSC Launching Pioneering Online Disease Communication Course


A new online disease communication course will be launched on the last day of the JMSC-sponsored Communicating Infectious Diseases Risk Conference at HKU.

The Journalism and Media Studies Centre will test a pilot version of a new online training course, “Behavioral Change Communication During Outbreak Response,” on Friday, June 28.

The course, which will be the culmination of the Conference on Communicating Infectious Diseases Risk currently being held at HKU, will teach participants how to communicate potentially life-saving information to different communities during the outbreak of a disease like SARS, when there is no vaccine or treatment for the disease.

The course is based on the World Health Organization’s Communication for Behavioral Impact toolkit and Outbreak Communication Guidelines. It is designed for global health professionals, communications officials from health ministries and nongovernmental organizations, and community-level health workers in Asia.

The pilot version of the course, which was developed with funding from HKU’s University Development Fund, will be tested and evaluated by expert members of its target audience on the third and final day of the conference. When completed, the course will last twelve weeks, consisting of weekly live video lectures, reading assignments and interactive exercises.

“The online course is a … milestone for us,” said Ying Chan, founder and Director of the JMSC. “As a part of the Public Health Communication Programme, it really started in 2003 with the outbreak of SARS. We saw that the government needed help in communicating about infectious diseases. So we have been working with the [Hong Kong University] Medical Faculty and Faculty of Arts to develop communication guidelines, and create programs for journalists and health officials.”

[Click on the video below for an introduction to the course.]