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Public engagement with scientific evidence in health: A qualitative study among primary-care patients in an urban population

Marilyn M. Schapira, Diana Imbert, Eric Oh, Elena Byhoff, Judy A. Shea

The purpose of this study is to explore the experience and perspective of patients regarding scientific evidence in health and the degree that this information impacts health behavior and medical decision making. A focus group study was conducted. Participants were recruited from an urban primary-care practice. The focus group discussions were audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim, and coded by two independent investigators. Emergent themes were identified. Participants (n = 30) ranged in age from 30 to 79 years, 60% were female, 77% were black, and 50% had at least some college experience. Three thematic areas informed a wide range in level of interest regarding scientific study design and result information: (1) scientific literacy, (2) medical decision making style, and (3) impact of culture and community on decision making. Our findings indicate that communication strategies that incorporate key elements of scientific study design, methods, and results will most effectively translate findings from comparative effectiveness research to patient-informed decision making regarding evidence-based health interventions.

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Informing Dissemination Research: A Content Analysis of U.S. Newspaper Coverage of Medical Nanotechnology News

Yulia A. Strekalova

This study examined nanomedicine coverage by the elite and regional U.S. newspapers. The study sought to study prevalent topics; examine time, risk and benefit, thematic and episodic, and societal and personal impact frames; and identify dominating overarching themes. Technology application and economic consequence were dominant topics, but contrary to the studies of other emerging technologies, regulations and moral issues were the least discussed topics for nanomedicine. A variety of data analytic techniques, including cluster analysis, were performed to analyze data. The analysis has identified three themes, Technology Prospects, High-Risk High-Reward, and Investment Costs, that dominated nanomedicine coverage.

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Popular Climate Science and Painless Consumer Choices: Communicating Climate Change in the Hot Pink Flamingos Exhibit, Monterey Bay Aquarium, California

Merav Katz-Kimchi and Lucy Atkinson

Using critical discourse analysis, we examine the communicative potential of science centers to engage the public in climate change science. Drawing on a theoretical framework combining climate change engagement and communication, science centers as sites of engagement and communication, ecological citizenship, and insights from social cognitive theory, our analysis shows that along with popularizing climate science and making it accessible to the general public, the Hot Pink Flamingos exhibit prioritized individual, marketplace-based action on climate change over solutions requiring large-scale social change or collective action. Responsibility for climate change was individualized, and the political realm was mostly reduced to lifestyle choices.

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