Communicating the Risks of Avian Flu – A Conversation with Jeff Levi

Jeff_009Recently, I sat down with an old friend and colleague, Jeff Levi, Executive Director of the Trust for America’s Health (TFAH).  Last year, my employer – Fleishman-Hillard joined with TFAH to host a forum on communications issues related to business preparations respecting the prospect of an avian flu pandemic.

According to their mission statement "Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) is a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to saving lives by protecting the health of every community and working to make disease prevention a national priority. From anthrax to asthma, from chemical terrorism to cancer, America is facing a crisis of epidemics."

One area of primary focus has been avian flu pandemic preparedness.  They have a wealth of resources on their site, including a state by state report on your state’s health as well as a recent report on the potential economic impact of an avian flu outbreak

I was curious, however, that this year, one did not hear as much about avian flu as one did in the past.  This is true, despite the fact that avian flu itself spread very rapidly this past season to a near global presence in bird populations and a significant number of human cases also occurred.  I thought it a good idea to sit down with Jeff and ask about the communications challenges posed by the prospect of a pandemic that, for right now, is theoretical. 

You can learn more about the spread of avian flu globally and track its progress at http://www.pandemicflu.gov/.

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