Health communication requires honesty.
Health communication requires honesty.

Communicating monkeypox and other health issues

Monkeypox is a viral disease that is leaving America questioning what’s happening next, again. After we fight to get through COVID-19, we are faced with yet another healthcare outbreak. We are stuck having questions without answers, again. Although monkeypox is being carefully monitored before it becomes too large of an outbreak, we still need help to understand how to communicate about monkeypox and how this can affect our lives. What can we, as public relation professionals do?

The CDC has released information on their website regarding monkeypox and their communication strategies, saying “partners can help by providing monkeypox information to different communities through various channels.” So, what does that mean for PR professionals? That means doing scans of large-scale events, engage in the healthcare industry, create a communication strategy plan that works best for, and do everything you can to give the public the honest truth. PR professionals can reduce the stigma of monkeypox by carefully communicating it effectively, like Dr. Sameer Vohra who is the director of the Illinois Department of Public Health. She was quoted in a press release saying “…these measures will allow the state to deploy all our resources in fighting this disease and will open efficient lines of communication and cooperation across state lines, an essential step in tracking monkeypox and improving tools and processes to prevent and address it.” Dr. Sameer Vohra remains calm and collective in her statements, even though this is a concerning topic.

The original communication around monkeypox was crazy. As soon as you saw stories about monkeypox, it was instantly taken out of proportion and made to seem like the sky is falling. During COVID-19, PR professionals got to witness the impact their words had on Americans as our stores faced supply storages due to stay-at-home orders, or when all of our grocery shopping was done online, or when the housing market was completely transformed. Through all of the craziness – you recognized how careful you have to be with your word choice. PR professionals learned a lot through COVID-19, and I believe, are taking cautious steps to not repeat it with monkeypox. Even in the craziness that America is facing today, it is important that as a PR professional, your communication plan for monkeypox remains calm and truthful. Be like Dr. Sameer Vohra, bringing more peace and honesty with your statements rather than fear of the unknown. We have fought together as a country to get through COVID-19, now I believe it is up to the PR professionals to help get us through the monkeypox craze.

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