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World Innovation Summit for Health To Set Agenda For The Future Of Health Communication

L Suzanne Suggs, PhD, MS, CHES, to lead expert working group in multidisciplinary study of how policymakers can use communication science to inspire smart choices for a healthier world

Doha, Qatar: The World Innovation Summit for Health (WISH), a global initiative of Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development (QF), has appointed L Suzanne Suggs, PhD, MS, CHES, Associate Professor of Social Marketing and Head of BeCHANGE Research Group, Institute for Public Communication, at the Università della Svizzera italiana, Lugano, Switzerland, to chair its Communicating Complex Health Messages Forum.


Professor Suggs will lead a multidisciplinary working group of distinguished experts to produce evidence-based research and recommendations to address the key challenges facing policy makers, governments and other groups responsible for communicating difficult and complex health policy issues.

In the coming months, the Forum will:

  • Assess public understanding of the science behind complex health issues;
  • Define what complex health issues are, and analyze how communication differs between noncomplex and complex health issues with different audiences;
  • Explore contested health information, including the sources and framing of communication within different populations across the world;
  • Identify the role of ICT and media in communication and societal debate on issues of health policy; and
  • Emphasize the role and responsibilities of politicians, healthcare professionals, celebrities and other opinion formers in the communication of health policy.
  • Develop a policy framework for designing effective health communication

The Forum will publish an evidence-based report and present its findings and recommendations for discussion at the next WISH Summit taking place on 17 – 18 February 2015 in Doha, Qatar.

Professor Suggs said: “This Forum is an exciting opportunity to bring together academics, industry leaders, and policy makers to discuss how complex health issues can be communicated effectively to the public and key decision makers. We have assembled a group of global experts, each focused on achieving better public health, to work together on the Forum. These diverse perspectives will open up new insights into how messages spread, using both traditional media and newer forms of communication, and we look forward to delivering a range of innovative and impactful policy recommendations at WISH 2015.”

Professor The Lord Darzi of Denham, Executive Chair of WISH and Director of the Institute of Global Health Innovation at Imperial College of London, said: “The communication of science, and health policy in particular, to the public is a major policy issue. Defining the future of healthcare communication that will tackle this issue would be beneficial to all countries all over the globe, including Qatar. Dissemination of accurate, trustworthy, relevant and timely information on health policy matters is critical to improving population health and wellbeing. As well as public health messages, governments and health system leaders need to communicate the rationale and need for innovation and change in health and healthcare delivery models in a dynamic and fast-changing political, social and media environment.”

With the appointment of L Suzanne Suggs as Chair of the Communicating Complex Health Messages Forum, WISH aims to drive the understanding of complex health issues and demonstrate the importance of disseminating accurate information on health policy matters to improving population health and well-being. Professor Suggs’ principal research focuses on health behavior change communication and social change through ICT and innovative communication strategies. She is also a co-founder and on the board of the European Social Marketing Association and was on the organizing board for the International Social Marketing Association. In addition, Professor Suggs is on the Editorial Review Board for the Journal of Health Communication. She teaches courses in Social Marketing, Health Communication, Research Methods, m-Health, Social Media, Science Communication and Media Skills. She also consults with industry and public health departments around the globe.

Communicating Complex Health Messages is one of seven research workstreams to be presented at the 2015 WISH Summit, where world leading experts will join an influential community of heads of state, government ministers, academics, clinicians, policy makers and business leaders to discuss innovative solutions to some of the most pressing global health challenges. As well as Communicating Complex Health Messages, WISH will publish reports on Diabetes, Delivering Affordable Cancer Care, Dementia, Well-being in Children and Young People, Universal Health Coverage and Patient Safety.

>Qatar Foundation has established WISH to ensure impactful outcomes in healthcare innovation in Qatar, regionally, and globally. Through WISH, Qatar Foundation is supporting the nation in establishing healthcare initiatives for the benefit of the globe while remaining closely aligned to the vision of Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, its Chairperson.

For more information about the Forum, please click here.

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