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Improving health communication

Supporting the practice of health communication

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Abstract Background: 

Health authorities, hospitals, commercial enterprises, and mass media all deliver health and medical communication in different forms. With such a vast amount of biomedical and clinical information available, any action to ensure the spread of clinically relevant news items is welcome. Objectives: 

This paper tries to define a new role for health science librarians in improving medical communication and reporting. Methods: 

Literature relating to the health and medical reporting is analysed to identify major difficulties encountered by health communicators. Results: 

There are two areas where health science librarians can develop new roles in health communication: (i) supporting journalists and health communicators in selecting sources and understanding scientific papers, and (ii) directly translating scientific information into news items, supplying a list of products in this direction (i.e. targeted newsletters, media releases, news items). New skills and competencies needed to cope with the new roles are described in detail in a suggested academic curriculum for health communicators. Conclusions: 

A better understanding of the mass media's needs can provide much needed support in the field of health communication.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Research Centre Sanofi Midy, Sanofi-Aventis Spa, Milan, Italy, 2: Centre for Studies on Drug Communication, University of Milan, Italy, and 3: Research and Development, AstraZeneca Spa, Basiglio, Milan, Italy

Publication date: March 1, 2009

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