Why does communicating about health matter?

January 10,2011

When talking about health, we form ideas about responsibility… Who do we blame for our cold, our cancer, our heart disease, our low vision? At one end of the blame continuum is personal responsibility and at the other end —  societal responsibility. In between, we have friends, family, co-workers, and media –including advertisements that make it seem that if we could only take the right medication, all would be well. Or, movies that make it seem as if there are more solutions available to us than there are in reality. Or news reports that do the same…

What a surprise when I walked into my classroom for the semester and found a student desk positioned near the podium with a sign posted overhead: FOR STUDENT WITH SPECIAL NEEDS. DO NOT MOVE. The same message was taped to the desktop. Hmm, what’s wrong with this picture? What does it communicate? Who and what is responsible for a student not using the desk?

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One Response to “Why does communicating about health matter?”

  1. K Reese says:

    Hello, Dr. Parrott:
    I was reading your article on “Beliefs About Genes, God, Can Change Health Communication Strategies” and I connected with your statements about the role of social support. So often, we leave it up to the family to be the primary support system for patients. Your article really got me thinking about “who else is responsible?” As an educator learning more about health communication, I’ve often wondered about the role of schools in helping to address health communication barriers—particularly in light of school-based health centers and other collaboration models between schools and medical providers. What is your take on where schools should be on the issue of responsibility?

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