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Risk Communication and Public Health

Peter Bennett, Kenneth Calman, Sarah Curtis, and Denis Fischbacher-Smith


Controversies about risks to public health regularly hit the news, whether about food safety, environmental issues, medical interventions, or ‘lifestyle’ risks such as drinking. To those trying to manage or regulate risks, public reactions sometimes seem bizarre. To the public, the behaviour of those supposedly ‘in charge’ can seem no less odd. Trust is currently at a premium. This new edition of Risk Communication and Public Health covers the theoretical and research background, and presents a wide range of contemporary case studies and the learning experiences from these, and the political, ... More

Keywords: risk communication, public health, controversies, news, food safety, environmental issues, medical interventions, lifestyle risks, drinking, public reactions

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2010 Print ISBN-13: 9780199562848
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199562848.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Peter Bennett, editor
Head of Analysis for Health Protection, Department of Health, London, UK

Kenneth Calman, editor
Chancellor, University of Glasgow, UK

Sarah Curtis, editor
Professor of Health and Risk, Durham University, UK

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Section 1 Risk, Communication, and the Public Understanding of Uncertainty in Public Health

Chapter 1 Understanding Public Responses to Risk: Policy and Practice

Peter Bennett (Department of Health, London), Kenneth Calman (University of Glasgow), Sarah Curtis (Durham University), & Denis Fischbacher-Smith (University of Glasgow)

Chapter 2 Bringing Light to the Shadows and Shadows to the Light: Risk, Risk Management, and Risk Communication

Denis Fischbacher-Smith (University of Glasgow), Alan Irwin (Brunel University), & Moira Fischbacher-Smith (University of Glasgow)

Chapter 3 Consumer Perceptions of the Risks and Benefits Associated With Food Hazards

Lynn Frewer, Heleen van Dijk, & Arnout Fischer (University of Wageningen)

Chapter 4 The Social Amplification of Risk Framework (SARF): Theory, Critiques, and Policy Implications

Nick Pidgeon (School of Psychology, Cardiff University) & Karen Henwood (School of Social Sciences, Cardiff University)

Chapter 5 From Trouble to Trauma: The Need for Public–Private Health Partnerships

Laurence Barton PhD (President and Professor of Management, The American College, Bryn Mawr)

Section 2 Public Health Risk Communication in Practice

Chapter 7 Where Do We Go From Here? The Evacuation of City Centres and the Communication of Public Health Risk From Extreme Threats

Denis Fischbacher-Smith, Moira Fischbacher-Smith, & David BaMaung (University of Glasgow)

Chapter 8 Radiation in London: Managing Risk Communication in the Litvinenko Affair

Pat Troop (former Chief Executive, Health Protection Agency) & Anton Dittner (Emerging Health Threats Forum)

Chapter 10 Risk Communication and Pandemic Influenza

Judith Petts, Heather Draper, Jonathan Ives, & Sarah Damery (University of Birmingham)

Chapter 11 CJD: Risk Communication in a Healthcare Setting

David Pryer (Chair CJD Incidents Panel) & Patricia Hewitt (NHS Blood & Transplant)

Section 3 From the Inside, Looking Out at Those Looking In—Organizational Issues Around Preparation and Response for Public Health Risks

Chapter 14 Changes to Food Risk Management and Communication

Sue Davies (Chief Policy Adviser, Which?)

Chapter 15 Communicating Risk Across Publics and Between Organizations: The Case of Childhood Accidents

Moira Fischbacher-Smith (Centre for Health, Environment and Risk Research, University of Glasgow)

Chapter 16 Exporting Pandora’s Box—Exploitation, Risk Communication, and Public Health Problems Associated with the Export of Hazard

Denis Fischbacher-Smith (University of Glasgow) & Ray Hudson (Wolfson Research Institute, Durham University)

Chapter 17 Communication About Persistent Environmental Risks: Problems of Knowledge Exchange and Potential of Participative Techniques

Sara Fuller (University of Durham), Karen Bickerstaff (King’s College London), Fu-Meng Khaw (North Tyneside Primary Care NHS Trust), & Sarah Curtis (University of Durham)

Chapter 18 Geographical Information Systems as a Means for Communicating About Public Health

Christine E. Dunn (Department of Geography, Durham University)

Chapter 19 Exploring and Communicating Risk: Scenario-Based Workshops

Simon French (Manchester University Business School) & John Maule (Leeds University Business School)

Chapter 20 Embedding Better Practice in Risk Communication and Public Health

Peter Bennett (Department of Health, London), Kenneth Calman (University of Glasgow), Sarah Curtis (University of Durham), & Denis Fischbacher-Smith (University of Glasgow)

End Matter