Messaging is important and certain words and language have negative meanings for people and lead to stigmatizing attitudes toward certain populations of people. Today the NIC hosted a webinar that was around making a case for meaningful systems change and it was led by Dr. Tiffany Manuel. During this discussion Dr. Manuel spent time talking about negative messaging and how important it is to get in front of the way we label people. By not getting in front of the way people are labeled, behavioral assumptions are embedded in people and then embedded in policies being made.

The hottest topic right now is the coronavirus and we’ve seen how attaching locations and ethnicities to this virus has been stigmatizing. It has enforced negative stereotypes and assumptions and has created a sense of fear. It has also caused those that have the virus to feel dehumanized. You might say that this pandemic is forcing us to look at how we label people and the language that we use. How can you play a part in changing messaging and labeling? How can our government change the way they put out messaging and how they label people? What can be done to get in front of this so we can change the narrative around how pandemics are handled?


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  • Public stigma can be multi-directional, are there advantages to identifyinh underlying beliefs within groups or aeas in order to infom how we message? I know this was discussed in California's Suicide and Mental Health Campaign to de-stigmitize.

    • You bring up and interesting point. A participant in the webinar shared that she has noticed that some people in the SDoH workplace talk about how important messaging is but they don't actually practice it themselves. She also shared how important it would be to have serious conversations in the workplace about this so people are conducting themselves in a way that they expect others to. Certainly a difficult conversation, but seems like a neccessary one.

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