John Cmar 360

I was recently interviewed by Philip and Lisa Mulford for this week’s episode of their audio show, Communication 360. From the episode description:

Every day [swine flu] is in the news, often with conflicting information. Even the medical community is inconsistent. So what do you do? And more importantly what is the best decision for your child? Having already experienced the H1N1 with both their boys, Philip & Lisa are joined by infectious disease specialist Dr. John Cmar to identify the fact from the myth and put the H1N1 back in perspective.

Communication 360 in general focuses on the different roles that communication has in relationships, understanding how it can break down, and ways to mediate it after it has. Given how much of the recent “swine flu” hysteria has been due to often poor communication from news media and medical authorities to the general public, I was eager to explore influenza from this perspective.

Our hour chat was fun, and ended up covering a lot of ground. We had a good discussion of how many aspects of talking about influenza – such as basic questions like “is this a bad flu season?” or “is there more than one H1N1?” – are not straightforward, and require a nuanced discussion that is often difficult to communicate to laypersons in limited time. There were many questions raised that I didn’t have a chance to discuss in detail, including some aspects of influenza vaccines and overhyped side effect possibilities. Now that some of the reactionary influenza coverage has died down a bit in the media at large, I’ll be taking a closer look at some of these issues in future posts.

Go here to listen to the program, and remember: wash your hands, people.

(Please note that I was accidentally credited as being an “infectious diseases specialist at Johns Hopkins” early in the episode, but this was corrected later on in the program to reflect my infectious diseases and clinical work at Sinai Hospital of Baltimore, and my teaching appointments through Johns Hopkins University.)

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