How Do People Make Decisions about Vaccinations with Reyaneh Maktoufi, PhD

Dr. Reyhaneh Maktoufi has recently defended her Ph.D. in Media, Technology, and Society at Northwestern University. She is a Rita Allen Foundation Civic Science Fellow at WGBH/NOVA. Her main fields of interest are science communication, misinformation, curiosity, public engagement with scientists, and science communication in media. She is a health communications expert turned science communication expert, so we are bringing her back into health communication with another discussion on addressing vaccine hesitancy.

When approaching patients with vaccine hesitancy, it is important recognizing that we make many decisions with emotions, not with facts. Fighting misinformation with information probably won’t. The key is trust. Find out the source of their hesitation and never ever dismiss it. Trust starts with relationship building and the conversation ends with addressing concerns. We also discuss how we can build trust in patients from communities that have justifiable mistrust of the medical establishment. And never bring up misinformation with your patients because it actually plants the seed of it possibly being true.

Before starting a Ph.D., Rey has been working as a health communication facilitator and cancer preventive/palliative care campaign manager in Tehran, Iran. She was a visiting researcher at the Adler Planetarium, where she studied science communication and facilitated workshops on communication skills and she’s also a producer at The Story Collider podcast. Rey currently enjoys working with different nonprofits such as the Communicating Science Conference (ComSciCon).

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