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J Korean Med Assoc. 2017 Apr;60(4):306-313. Korean. Original Article.
Paek HJ .
Department of Advertising & Public Relations, Hanyang University, Ansan, Korea.

During the outbreak of Middle East respiratory syndrome, the Korean government responded with inadequate speed and thoroughness. As a result, serious damage occurred not only to public health, but also to socioeconomic life and public trust in the government. Although people are becoming increasingly aware that risk and crisis communications are important during infectious disease outbreaks, we still need a better understanding of what constitutes strategic risk communication. This article deals with the following issues: (1) what is risk communication? (2) During the development of risk communication strategies, how has the concept of the public been treated? (3) As the media landscape has changed, how have views of the role of the public in risk communication changed? This article traces how risk communication has moved from an expert-centered view to an audience-centered view. In the process, the concept of the public has changed from being the target of expert control to being the partner in a respectful dialogue. Strategic risk communicators need to understand how the role of the public has changed in today's diversified and fragmented media environment, where people not only consume but produce, share, and disseminate risk information. Finally, to make risk communication more effective during infectious disease outbreaks, public health experts and communication experts need to use “team science” to improve their abilities to work closely with one another as soon as outbreaks occur.

Copyright © 2019. Korean Association of Medical Journal Editors.