Article Text

Download PDFPDF

Risk communication and public health.

    Statistics from

    Request Permissions

    If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.

    Risk communication and public health. P Benett, K Calman. (Pp 272; price not stated). New York: Oxford Universty Press, 1999. ISBN0-19-263037-7

    In this global and fragmented society, where citizens do not have direct experience of many questions that influence their health, and where political decisions affect more and more diverse and dispersed individuals, public communication plays a central part in management and prevention of public risk.

    With the intention of highlighting common experiences in this controversial field of work, in November of 1997, the British Department of Health organised a conference that assembled public health professionals, academics, members of the government and its advisory committees, campaigning organisations, and consultants specialising in risk assessment and communication. This book is a compilation of those interventions, perfected and extended.

    The 20 contributions of recognised prestige authors are structured in four sections. The first one is centred on the overhaul of investigations on the subject; the second one portrays a compilation of some risk communication cases in the UK; the third one presents a review of the debate about the institutions and actors that manage risk; and the fourth one offers practical implications of the reviewed questions in a pragmatic way.

    “Communication of risk”, as a concept, is understood throughout the manual as an essential part of the public policy. Most authors appreciate that scientists, politicians and consumers are the elementary actors in the analysed process. Nevertheless, the book does not cover an in depth reflection on other fundamental nodes in the process of risk communication, like mass media, or doctors, who are basic transmitters in the process of the sanitary communication.

    The book is essentially descriptive, and is a high quality compilation for those who are in charge to solve, or to evaluate the risk. Nevertheless, the volume is little encouragement for those who are really dedicated to communicate it.