Practices that show potential to achieve desirable public health outcomes in a specific real-life setting and produce early results that are consistent with the objectives of the activities and thus indicate effectiveness.

Taboos in health communication: Stigma, silence and voice

Dimitrov, R., Jelen, A., and L'Etang, J.

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White Paper/Brief

Outreach/ Education/ Communications
Social and Community Context
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Outside U.S.

Mitigation and Prevention

The 2019 call for papers on “Taboos in Health Communication: Stigma, Silence, and Voice” coincided with the emergence of COVID-19, which drastically transformed the world. This pandemic, with over 235 million cases and nearly 5 million deaths by October 2021, not only had severe health consequences but also led to economic and social crises, including increased domestic violence and mental health issues. It pushed health communication and public relations to the forefront of crisis management, overshadowing other health concerns. This shift highlighted the importance of addressing taboos, stigmas, and silences, particularly in areas like mental and reproductive health, maternal health, and vaccination efforts. The special issue explores how public relations and health communication influence public discourse and societal norms, challenging established assumptions and power dynamics in a COVID-19-dominated world. It acknowledges the historically limited connection between public health and public relations and calls for addressing cultural taboos and stigmas. The issue advocates for applying critical theory in health communication and promoting an interdisciplinary approach to address these challenges, with the ultimate goal of integrating public relations insights into broader socio-cultural, political, and economic discussions in the post-pandemic era.

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Outcomes of Interest

Public Health Communications

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