Emergency Risk Communication for Public Health Professionals


Course Overview 

Course Quality Rating


Course Description

This course is provided by Northwest Center for Public Health Practice and will require a secondary login and/or registration. 

If you work in public health, during a crisis or emergency, you will likely become a risk communicator, even if your job description does not include public information or media relations. Effective communication is vital to protect the community's health. Communication with the public and the media in an emergency presents unique challenges. People are highly emotional. They want to know what happened and who is responsible. Most importantly, people want to know what they can do to protect themselves and their loved ones. Yet the unexpected and chaotic nature of emergencies often makes it difficult to answer the public and the media’s demand for information and reassurance.

In this 2.5 hour course, you’ll learn how to plan for an emergency, create effective messages, and interact with the media and community in times of crisis.                                                                                                 

Click the LAUNCH button below to start or be taken to the course. 

Target Audience

This course is designed for public information officers and communication specialists, health care professionals, public health professionals, and public health students. 

Learning Objectives

Having completed this course, the learner will be able to:

  1. List some common reactions exhibited by the public during public health emergencies
  2. Identify some effective communication strategies that can be used during public health emergencies
  3. Communicate with the news media more effectively during public health emergencies
  4. Work with the community more effectively during periods of heightened emotion
  5. Participate in planning processes that can help your organization be better prepared for communicating during an emergency

 Council of Linkages Core Competencies for Public Health Professionals (COL)/COL Tier(s)

  1. 3B4. (Tier 2): Uses a variety of approaches to disseminate public health information
  2. 3B5. (Tier 2): Presents demographic, statistical, programmatic, and scientific information for use by professional and lay audiences
  3. 3C1. (Tier 3): Ensures that the health literacy of populations served is considered throughout all communication strategies
  4. 3C2. (Tier 3): Communicates in writing and orally, in person, and through electronic means, with linguistic and cultural proficiency
  5. 3C4. (Tier 3): Ensures a variety of approaches are considered and used to disseminate public health information
  6. 3C6. (Tier 3): Applies communication and group dynamic strategies in interactions with individuals and groups 

Professional/Disciplinary Competencies

CDC, Public Health Preparedness and Response Core Competency Model

Communicate and Manage Information

  • 2.1 Manage information related to an emergency
  • 2.2 Use principles of crisis and risk communication

CDC, PHP Capabilities

Capability 4. Emergency Public Information and Warning

  • Function 5: Issue public information, alerts, warnings, and notifications 



Credit /CEU

None available 


2.5 hrs. 


None listed

Course Publication Date

None listed