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With much of our country and the world navigating an uncharted course through the short- and long-term impact of COVID-19, we extend our most heartfelt and best wishes for the health and safety of you and your families. Our concerns and support extend beyond our own community to all who are affected by this health crisis. We know that many of our alumni and friends across the world are being impacted by this issue, and we continue to keep you in our thoughts during these challenging times.
As you may know, the University at Buffalo has implemented a distance learning model for our students and is moving to a remote work accommodation for our faculty and staff to the extent possible. It’s important to share that, in this ever-evolving situation, our two guiding principles are the health and safety of our community, and the continued academic progress of our students.
In many ways, it is your ongoing support of UB that enables the university to provide the resources to support our community in these difficult times. Whether your gifts have been to the UB Fund, or to a specific scholarship or research initiative, each and every day we put your contributions to work where they will have the maximum impact at UB. Thank you for your investment and commitment to UB.
While we won’t be able to see you in person at UB programs and events in the short term, we are working on ways to keep your connection to UB – and to each other – strong. Pursuant to recent University, CDC and local health department guidelines, all alumni, in-person gatherings, including events, conferences, meetings and other forums, are being cancelled or postponed until at least early June.
Published March 29, 2020
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Janet Yang sits down with Channel 4 News, Buffalo NPR, and UBNow to discuss the importance of spreading clear and simple risk communication.
UB Associate Professor in Communication, Dr. Janet Yang, recently sat down with Channel 4 News and discussed the current range of risk communication surrounding COVID-19, both federally and locally. During her interview, Dr. Yang encourages the public to do their research and to “verify information sources.” She adds that people are receiving the majority of information about COVID-19 from elected officials and politicians, and reminds the public, “when it comes to a public health disease outbreak… scientists are also very important to listen to.” The interview later transitions to the topic of social media and its contributions to risk communication related to COVID-19.
Social media has undoubtedly become a breeding ground for questionable news, as anyone who wants to can post or repost whatever they choose. In her conversation with Channel 4 news, Dr. Yang provides a possible solution to this phenomenon. She mentions, “it is important for agencies to engage more actively with social media, when you see something online that is not truthful, they should send out information to debunk that rumor immediately.” Dr. Yang’s solution may work well with online communication. However, when asked about what a non-expert should do when tasked with the responsibility of disseminating information about COVID-19 outside of the internet, she suggests something everyone can do. Dr. Yang’s message to those in charge of spreading health information within work environments, or to their loved ones, is to “keep it simple.” Yang encourages sharing messages that ensure the health and safety of everyone like hand-washing and social distancing.
Dr. Yang has been consistent in her quest to promote the need for better COVID-19 communication. In a recent interview with UBNow, she states, “to keep the public informed but not alarmed, it is important for health experts and governmental agencies to communicate simple, clear facts to ordinary citizens.” In another interview with Buffalo’s NPR Station, Dr. Yang acknowledges the “fine line” between keeping the public informed and not alarmed, but maintains her stance that the best way to deal with the current state of uncertainty is through clear and simple communication from figures of authority. As a final statement on COVID-19 and risk communication, Dr. Yang reminds the public, “this is something that all of us should be aware of and take precautionary measures without panic.”
Read more about Channel 4 News interview here.
Read more about Buffalo NPR interview here.
Read more about UBNow story here.