In their article “Facing the Ebola Fear” U-M Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine and MCIRCC member Mahshid Abir, M.D., and Richard Serino, the former deputy administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency explain how America’s efforts to limit misinformation about the disease have been lacking.

Abir and Serino argue that when dealing with Ebola, it is important to remember that the response, and the communication around it, must consider the public’s fear about the possible spread of the virus. Ignoring these fears and failing to engage the whole community in Ebola education has only perpetuated the dissemination of misinformation and rumors.

They say the key to dealing with public health emergencies, both as they are happening and before they occur, is to involve all key stakeholders, including federal, state, and local government, public health, emergency medical services, hospitals and health care systems, local community health centers, private businesses (large and small), not-for-profit agencies, faith-based communities and, most importantly, the public.

Abir and Serino conclude that collaboration between these groups can create relationships that can be leveraged over the long term to enhance community preparedness and resilience for this and other public health threats.

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