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January 25, 2017

Podcast: How to explain informatics to your friends and family

Marissa and I show off the FrameWorks Institute's logo in their Washington, D.C. headquarters.

Have you ever had a hard time explaining your job to friends and family? Did this experience lead you to wonder why public health informatics is so hard to talk about? Well, it turns out that many professionals—not just public health informaticians—have a hard time explaining the ins and outs of their work.

In this episode, I talk with Dr. Marissa Fond, who is the Assistant Director of Research at FrameWorks Institute. With funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Public Health Informatics Institute (PHII) worked with Marissa and her team to research why public health informatics is difficult to explain. The FrameWorks team used those findings to develop communication strategies public health informaticians can use to describe their work.

“Metaphors offer people a kind of cognitive shortcut.”

- Marissa Fond
FrameWorks Institute

During our discussion, Marissa describes the challenges of conveying nuanced topics in concrete ways, and explains why metaphors can be useful communication tools. She also discusses three metaphors FrameWorks developed around public health informatics and explores how they highlight different aspects of the field. If you’re interested in seeing the tools and other resources FrameWorks developed, check out the Reframing Public Health Informatics: A Communications Toolkit on the PHII website. You may also be interested in this recent blog from Jessica Cook, PHII Communications Director.

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