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Big, If True Series On Tech & The Pandemic

Two Truths and a Lie: Misinformation and Public Health

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Date and time
Friday, April 24, 2020

What do public health advocates need to know about misinformation research? Like our hospitals, our information systems are completely overwhelmed with questions, ranging from the banal, “How do I know if I have coronavirus?,” “Where can I get tested for COVID-19?,” “Is there a vaccine?” to the conspiracy-driven, “Does 5G affect your health?” or “What is the World Health Organization and do they work for China?” The list goes on, but the fact remains: people are seeking more and more information about COVID-19 and wrong answers could be deadly. Ashish Jha, Director of the Harvard Global Health Institute talks with Setti Warren, Executive Director of the Shorenstein Center and former Mayor of Newton MA. The two discuss what public health advocates need to know about misinformation and how misinformation influence people’s behaviors. They . cover the ways local governments communicate to residents and how public health professionals and local officials can work together to share life-saving recommendations during the infodemic. This talk is part of the [_Big, If True_](https://forum-network.org/series/big-if-true-series-tech-pandemic/) webinar series hosted by Joan Donovan, Ph.D., who heads up the [**Technology and Social Change Research Project** (TaSC)](https://shorensteincenter.org/about-us/areas-of-focus/technology-social-change/) at Harvard University's Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy.

**Setti D. Warren** served as Mayor of Newton, Massachusetts from January 1, 2010 to January 1 2018. He was the first African-American to be a popularly-elected mayor in Massachusetts. After graduating from Boston College, he began an extensive career in public service, serving as special assistant in the White House Office of Cabinet Affairs for President Bill Clinton; as New England director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency; and as deputy state director for Senator John F. Kerry (D-MA). Prior to running for mayor, Mayor Warren completed a yearlong tour of duty in Iraq as a naval intelligence specialist. He served on the advisory board of the United States Conference of Mayors, chairing the organization's community housing and development committee. Mayor Warren is also a life member of The Council on Foreign Relations and a board member of Discovering Justice. He is currently the Executive Director of the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School.
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A global leader driving public health research, policy, and practice, Dr. Ashish Jha joined the Brown School of Public Health as dean in September 2020. An accomplished and practicing physician, Dr. Jha is recognized globally as a trusted expert on major issues impacting public health, and a catalyst for new thinking and approaches. A long-time leader on pandemic preparedness and response, from directing groundbreaking research on Ebola to serving on the frontlines of the COVID-19 response, he has led national and international analysis of key issues and advised local and federal policy makers around the world.
Donovan leads the field in examining internet and technology studies, online extremism, disinformation and media manipulation. Donovan received her Ph.D in Philosophy from UC San Diego and is currently assistant Professor of Journalism & Emerging Media Studies at Boston University and founder of The Critical Internet Studies Institute, a non-profit that advocates for a public interest internet. Her latest book is MEME WARS: The Untold Story of the Online Battles Upending Democracy in America, with Emily Dreyfuss and Brian Friedberg.