In this study we ask: What is the public health risk communication response to an emergency infectious disease in the context of social media? We examine how provinces and provincial public health leaders, and the Public Health Agency of Canada and national public health leaders engage with the public using social media during the Coronavirus event. We compare findings to provincial and national public health social media activity before the emergency. We also compare findings to the gold standard – WHO social media activity during the emergency. Using our study findings, we will work with public health stakeholders to collaboratively develop a much- needed Canadian social media emergency response set of guideline recommendations for public health and other health system organizations.
The specific objectives of our project are to:
- Identify the social media level of engagement with the public by provincial PH agencies and PH leaders before and during active periods of the COVID-19 outbreak.
- Identify the social media level of engagement with the public by the national PH agency and PH leaders before and during active periods of the COVID-19 outbreak.
- Determine the strengths and weaknesses of provincial and national social media engagement content during COVID-19
- Characterize the public’s response to PH agencies and PH leaders on social media before and during active periods of the COVID-19 outbreak.
- Collaboratively develop a Canadian social media emergency response set of guideline recommendations for PH and other health system organizations.
Outcomes and Impact: The anticipated outcomes of this research include: greater understanding of the challenges and strengths with the current Canadian PH social media approach to communicating about COVID-19, and future epidemics; to collaboratively develop with PH stakeholders a Canadian social media emergency response recommendations; contribute to the science of both PH systems and social media research by disseminating findings, and; develop recommendations about how to enhance social media engagement with the public during an emergency response in the health care system in Canada, and globally.