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HPH Weekly: What can Mandy Cohen do to regain the public’s trust in the CDC?

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Written by
Jo Zhou
February 8, 2024
Read Time
3 min

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What can Mandy Cohen do to regain the public’s trust in the CDC?

Digital illustration: A door in dark room opens to reveal floating health and data icons. The composition is shades of blue.
Source images: Kulpreya Chaichatpornsuk / iStock

Jennifer Nuzzo, an epidemiologist and the director of the Pandemic Center at the Brown University School of Public Health, argues that more openness about data is the key to improving public trust in the CDC. The public wants to see the data behind the agency’s decisions, she says. Its limited data-sharing, obtuse website, and poor communication could use an overhaul, too.

“We live in a time when people read scores of online user reviews and watch videos before they buy products,” she writes. “It’s hard to imagine a U.S. public accustomed to such visibility simply accepting the CDC’s advice to change their behavior without being shown why those recommendations exist in the first place.”

Lori Lightfoot: mayors must make public health issues a priority

A female firefighter in dress fatigues bumps elbows with Mayor Lori Lightfoot at her graduation ceremony. The two stand in front of an American flag, a city of Chicago flag and two other flags.
Ashlee Rezin Garcia / Chicago Sun-Times via AP

Former Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has advice for her peers: Surround yourself with public health experts. And listen to them. Lightfoot points out that many residents of cities like Chicago have been ill-served by government in the past, and city leadership must win back trust by prioritizing the health needs of people suffering from the effects of racism, generational poverty, and public sector neglect.

How a deadly global crisis went unseen

An African woman holds a worn photo of an infant in her hands.
Courtesy of Undark

Writing for Undark, Maxmen talked to Karume Baderha Augustin Gang, the researcher behind a groundbreaking mortality study in the Central African Republic. His team discovered that a 2022 United Nations estimate of lives lost to conflict in the country may have been off by roughly 190,000. Karume sees more than tough terrain in the challenges of estimating deaths in conflict zones in Africa. “In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in Somalia, in the Central African Republic, in South Sudan, we wonder, are we so different?” he said. “Do we have blue blood and do others have red blood?”

This story was originally published by Undark.

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Filed Under
Jo Zhou
Jo Zhou is the social media manager and audience engagement specialist at Harvard Public Health. Read more from Jo Zhou.