Entries by Lisa Cobb

Anthropology and Ebola Communication

Health communication has often drawn from the discipline of marketing in conceptualizing how we do what we do, especially when it comes to health issues where people need to use a product or service. Health marketing is concerned primarily with what people do. Another discipline that is increasingly recognized as crucial to the fight against […]

The Power of Behavior Change

The journal Nature has a special on Ebola, collecting all its reporting on the virus in one place. One of those articles, Models overestimate Ebola cases, is on the failure of mathematical models to accurately predict the epidemic’s course. In an interesting letter responding to that article, the authors credit “altered cultural perception” that allowed for […]

Ebola is Real: Using Theory to Develop Messaging in a Health Crisis

Question: What is the difference between these two messages? “Ebola is real! If you get it, you’ll die!” and “Ebola is real! If you seek treatment you have a fifty-per-cent chance of recovery?” Answer: Theory. The Extended Parallel Process Model, or EPPM, to be exact. These messages come from a great article in the New […]

What Can Be Done to Reduce Stigma and Help Communities Get Beyond Fear

In ancient Greece, slaves and traitors and other undesirables were marked or branded to show their lowly status and allow people to shun them. From that practice we get the word stigma, or mark. Today we use the word to describe the discrimination and social shunning people experience for myriad different reasons – sexual orientation, […]

Ebola, Hand-washing and Oral Rehydration Therapy

The question of Ebola communication has focused mainly on, well, Ebola. But beyond knowledge of how the virus is spread and what to do if you get it, there are practices and skills that public health people have been communicating about for decades that can help with prevention and, possibly, survival. Two big ones are […]

The Art of Adaptation When Adapting Communication Materials in a Hurry

If you Google “brochure” and “family planning,” you get page after page of links to brochures, most of them to reputable materials you can use. But replace “family planning” with “Ebola,” and there aren’t so many options. The outbreak, and our response, is simply too new. If you are in need of a brochure (or […]