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H1N1 communication and you: How did it work?

November 30, 2010

The H1N1 pandemic revealed many communication challenges. The Canadian Institute of Health Research (CIHR) is now conducting research in hopes of improving processes for the future.

They would like you to fill out a short (10 minute) survey regarding the H1N1 pandemic. The questions ask about what kind of information you received from different public health agencies, how useful you thought this information was, and how you applied it to your own personal situation.

The survey is located online at

The H1N1 outbreak, in the spring season of 2009, provided an opportunity for public health agencies to test their pandemic plans in a crisis situation. This outbreak differed to some degree from expectations, in terms of virulence, the population at risk, and how the public itself reacted to the outbreak. As a result, the flexibility and effectiveness of these plans were themselves tested.

We want to assess the effectiveness of these pandemic plans, with a specific focus on the risk communication strategies used by the various public health agencies in Canada. In other words, we want to see how the health agencies communicated the risk to you as a public health care professional working on the ‘front lines’, dealing with members of the public at every stage of the outbreak. By virtue of your job, we feel that you played a dual role in pandemic H1N1 as being both ‘receivers’ and ‘providers’ of information.

If you do not have regular access to the internet, or if there are other circumstances preventing you from filling out this online survey, you may request a paper or electronic PDF copy of the survey. Please email us at with your contact details and survey preference type, or you may write to us at:

Research in Science Communications
P224-770 Bannatyne Avenue
Winnipeg, MB  R3E 0W3

We very much appreciate you taking the time to fill out this survey. The results will be used to help improve the quality of risk communication at all levels of organization, from national plans down to regional/local plans.

With Kindest Regards,

Dr. Michelle Driedger, of the University of Manitoba
Dr. Cynthia Jardine, of the University of Alberta
Dr. Jennifer Keelan, of the University of Toronto

Originally published in the November 30, 2010, issue of The Link