Public’s awareness of public health challenges: how to get our public health messages heard?

Organisers: European Commission, EUPHA

Moderators: Isabel de la Mata, European Commission and Natasha Azzopardi Muscat, EUPHA

In a time of internet-research and twitter-truths, it becomes more and more important for the whole public health community to learn how to engage the public to support, participate in and make healthy choices. How can we raise the public’s awareness on public health challenges? How do we increase the impact of the messages we want to convey? How can and should we communicate so we have a larger impact of what we are trying to convey?

It is important that scientists – in this case public health scientists – learn how to communicate and work with politicians, journalists and citizens to get the right message across. In this plenary session, we are looking at this from different angles.

After an introduction to health communication and persuasion, a panel consisting of two scientists, a journalist and a policy-translator  will provide insight on how they have implemented ideas to raise the impact of public health messages and what they needed to implement these ideas. The two chairs of the session will then summarize the lessons learned in this session.

How to get our messages heard? - Aljoša Bagola, Pristop, Slovenia

If the end goal of creative endeavors in art is catharsis, then the end goal of creative endeavors in communication is effectiveness. Modern technology brings new possibilities and challenges for effective communication. With social media presence in every household and, through handheld devices, practically every pocket, an effective communication can reach very far. Even though messages delivered through social media are short and may seem to require relatively little preparation, they are, in reality, derived from a script that is extensive and well thought-out. During the presentation, strategies and techniques employed in social media advertising and possible implications for public health interventions will be discussed.


  • Carlo Signorelli, Italian Society of Hygiene, Preventive Medicine and Public Health, on the increasing threats of vaccine hesitancy in Italy
  • Benedicte Carlsen, Department of Health Promotion and Development Faculty of Psychology at the University of Bergen, Norway
  • Christina Berndt, Health editor, Suddeutsche Zeitung, Germany
  • Jan Eyckmans, Head of Communication, Federal Ministry of Health, Belgium