Health and Risk Communication in an Interpandemic World:Strategies for aSystem Thinking and Equity-Driven Approach

A Global Health Communication Institute
Rome, Italy, July 8-19, 2024

The Institute will meetfrom Monday to Friday
9:00 am - 4:00 pm CET on Monday to Thursdayand 9:00 am - 12:00 pm CET on Fridays


Register before June 7th, 2024. Details are at the foot of the page.



Health, communication, international development, human rights, and community development professionals from a variety of sectors, organizations, and countries, including international organizations, government agencies, foundations, nonprofit organizations, community-based organizations, hospitals, and others.The course is open to all interested parties and is likely to benefit professionals who work on any kind of health, social, or disease issue/area and/or anyone who intends to work in health and risk communication in the future.


A summer global health communication institute that brings together professionals and leaders from multiple sectors and disciplines for an international professional development course in association withand the peer-reviewed.

Participants will engage in advanced conversations, strategies, and skills-building units on interdisciplinary topics at the intersections of health and risk communication, social and behavior change (SBC), social and behavior change communication (SBCC), system-thinking, community engagement, and health equity/human rights. Participants will have the opportunity to interact with international and Italian organizations in Rome and AUR faculty members with relevant experience on the topic.

Lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic and their implications for health and risk communication in the 21st century will be discussed not only as related to pandemics and disease outbreak settings but also to other health areas, community and population health issues, and social, political, and structural determinants of health and well-being. Participants will delve into strategies for enhancing health systems, addressing inequities, and navigating political and social determinants of health. The curriculum emphasizes participatory and multisectoral communication strategies to achieve impactful behavioral, social and policy outcomes in various stages of pandemic management as well as in improving health, racial and social equity in the prevention and management of other key health and social issues of our time.

The course is grounded in the theory and practice of Social and Behavior Change (SBC) disciplines, Social and Behavior Change Communication (SBCC), Health Equity, and Human Rights and fosters strategic thinking and skills on a transformative approach to health and risk communication in the 21st century. A certificate of completion will be awarded to participants by վ.

Lead faculty and course director: Renata Schiavo, PhD, MA, CCL

Senior Lecturer, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health
Principal, Strategies for Equity and Communication Impact (SECI)
Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Communication in Healthcare: Strategies, Media and Engagement in Global Health (Taylor & Francis)
Founder and Board President, Board of Directors, Health Equity Initiative
Editorial Board Member, Health Equity (Mary Ann Liebert)
Senior Editor, Journal of Health Equity (Taylor & Francis)

Bio and work experience:


  • UNICEF-Rome
  • Doctors Without Borders Italy
  • WHO Regional Office for Europe
  • National Institute for Health, Migration and Poverty (NIHMP)/WHO Collaborating Center on Health and Migration Evidence and Capacity Building
  • Fondazione MAXXI/MAXXI National Museum of XXI Century Art
  • Fondazione Cinema per Roma/UNESCO Rome City of Film
  • վ
  • Others are to be announced.



This 10-day summer institute and professional development course focuses on lessons learned, future directions, and advanced conversations on health and risk communication related to the COVID-19 pandemic and otherongoing and past epidemics and emerging disease outbreaks in different regions worldwide. The course is grounded in the theory and practice of Social and Behavior Change (SBC), Social and Behavior Change Communication (SBCC), Health Equity, and Human Rights. It will provide participants with practical skills, strategies, and resources on a participatory, multisectoral, integrated, and community-driven approach to communication that aims to achieve social, behavioral, and policy results in pandemic and interpandemic settings (including the preparedness, response, and recovery phases).

Implications of the course content to strengthen health and social systems, improve outcomes across other health areas and community and population health issues, and address social, political, and structural factors will also be discussed.

The course recognizes the disproportionate burden of pandemics and other public health emergencies among populations and groups that are already affected by health, racial, and social inequities. It discusses methods and resources to design community-driven solutions and policies, improve the sustainability of communication and global health interventions and social and behavioral gains, and help advance health, racial, and social equity.

Special topics will include building and restoring trust in science and health information, addressing misinformation/disinformation, media ethics, the influence of social media, storytelling for behavioral and social results, human-centered design and other participatory planning methods, and the role of arts-based communication and other participatory strategies for community and public outreach.

Nested in Rome, Italy, one of the first countries to be severely affected by the pandemic, the course will include site visits and lectures from representatives and staff members of local and international organizations, hospitals, the media, arts institutions, and AUR faculty members.


The course is organized into discussion/learning units, each of which includes several topics.

The first week of the course will be dedicated to an introduction, lessons learned from the pandemic, including an overview of future directions, and core principles for a system-thinking and equity-driven approach to health and risk communication. Participants will also practice select communication planning concepts, skills, and strategies within an integrated framework grounded in health equity, system-thinking, and human rights, which aims at social, behavioral, policy, and organizational change. The role of community-driven interventions and policies will also be discussed with particular emphasis on resources and skill-building for community and patient engagement.

The second week of the course will be dedicated to topics on the implementation and evaluation phases of health and risk communication interventions and research efforts. The role of participatory media, participatory evaluation, media ethics, mixed research methods, trust in health and science information, infodemic management, and other timely topics will also be discussed.

Across the two weeks,implications of the course content for other health and social areas, community and population health issues, and for addressing social, structural, and political determinants of health will be discussed.

Ultimately, through a combination of presentations and guest lectures, advanced discussions and Q&A sessions, case studies, hands-on training, and experiential exercises, participants will gain knowledge and skills in several essential principles and strategies of health and risk communication in an interpandemic world.

The course will be in English and is designed for a maximum of 25 participants.



€2,000 (euros)/participant (without accommodations)
€2,800 (euros)/participant (with accommodations in AUR shared apartments)


An openingaperitivoand a closing dinner are included in the tuition fee.
Two additionalaperitivievents will be organized closer to the date; these, too, are included in the tuition fee.

All other meals will be the responsibility of each participant and/or their organizational sponsors.


Registration and payment are required byJune 7, 2024.


International participants must be informed about Italian travel information and hold a valid entry visa if required.

For non-EU citizens, or with your local embassy.

Health and Risk Communication in an Interpandemic World: Strategies for a System Thinking and Equity-Driven Approach

To apply for this program, please fill in the form below. Once you have submitted the form, you will receive instructions on how to pay the course deposit.

Application deadline:

Submit the application form before June 7, 2024.

Payment instructions will be emailed to you upon receipt of your application.

If you require further information before applying, please contact the Seminar Director, Professor Renata Schiavo, at
deposits will be refunded if the course is cancelled by AUR because of any unforeseen circumstances
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