A Germ's Journey Discussion - Health Communication Beyond Nudges

Originally published at: https://decentered.co.uk/a-germs-journey-discussion-health-communication-beyond-nudges/

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Over a series of three conversations, a group of practitioners and advocates of community-focussed health and community media are coming together to talk about the challenge of public health messages and information in Leicester. These discussions will explore how Leicester-based community health and communication practitioners have been making use of different media platforms, so that they can assist our often overlooked and under-represented communities.

Our question is:

  • How can we give the best care, guidance and information to all the residents of our city?

Our conversations consider what alternative forms of media we believe are making a difference locally. We look at what local approaches are being used that are distinct from the ‘assumption-driven’ national mass-media communications approaches. And our conversation will explore examples of local innovation and practice in community-focussed communications.

This is an opportunity to reflect on our experiences, and to consider what we’ve learnt during the pandemic. What makes a difference at a grassroots and neighbourhood level in Leicester.

Our first discussion examines the challenge of community-focussed communication, compared with the mainstream approaches to public information. Many public authorities and government advisors have recommended using, what’s known as the behaviourist model, that seeks to ‘nudge’ people into behaving in specific and approved ways. In the behaviourist approach the focus is often placed on instructions and routine. The belief is that our behaviour can be changed with a simple nudge.

If a falling infection rate was the goal of behavioural communications, however, then in Leicester it didn’t seem to work very well. Leicester has had the longest continuous lockdown of anywhere in Europe, so clearly there are many lessons to be learnt.

Joining Rob Watson to examine how we can improve our public health communications is:

Mukesh Barot from Healthwatch Leicester and Leicestershire. Mukesh is the Chief Officer of Healthwatch Leicester, and has an extensive and varied background in local authority youth and community development, as well as arts and community services management across Leicester. Previously Mukesh worked with Arts Council England, where he promoted cultural diversity, education, lifelong learning and participatory arts.

Dr Charan Singh Johal from Kohinoor Radio. Charan is the Chief Executive of Kohinor Media, a community radio station based on St Saviour’s Road in Leicester. Kohinoor Radio was literally at the centre of the controversy reported about employment practices in many clothing factories in Leicester.

Dr Charlotte Hilton from Hilton Health Consultancy. Charlotte is a health and social care-related consultant, and a member of the British Psychological Society (BPS). Charlotte is a Chartered Psychologist, and has a history of working within public health, primary care, clinical, community and mental health settings.