Global Health Communication

Authored by: J. Douglas Storey

The Routledge Handbook of Health Communication

Print publication date:  September  2021
Online publication date:  September  2021

Print ISBN: 9780367488956
eBook ISBN: 9781003043379
Adobe ISBN:


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Global health communication refers to an expansive body of theory-based research and evidence-based practice aimed at understanding, producing, and sustaining population health in a just and equitable manner across many national, subnational, and cultural settings. This chapter focuses on three crosscutting issues: (a) gaps and priorities in research and practice, (b) cross-national theorizing and comparative study, including the role of donor agencies, and (c) the quest for impact at scale. It describes the variety of global health communication approaches and health topics, a brief history of donor involvement and its relationship to research, opportunities to compare approaches and to mainstream global theories, the value of South-North scholarly exchange, and the added value of integrated program approaches that can improve program sustainability and the scale of public health impact. Two case studies illustrate those themes: a multilevel advocacy communication program for family planning in Indonesia and a global COVID-19 behavioral survey with implications for coordinated global efforts to address a pandemic. The chapter concludes with discussion of lingering concerns and controversies including disconnects between academic and applied communication research, trends in ethnic nationalism and its effects on international collaboration, and the challenges of addressing social determinants and health disparities. Recommendations for future research are discussed.

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