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Penn Today: When the message matters, use science to craft it

Why do certain types of communication succeed over others? Might tweaks to the messaging make a difference in someone’s thought process? Through a new initiative called the Message Effects Lab, Jessica Fishman, a Penn researcher, is trying to answer such questions, in collaboration with colleagues from the Annenberg School for Communication and Perelman School of Medicine and a partnership with federally qualified health centers in the nonprofit Public Health Management Corporation network. “The idea for this started long ago, but it really catalyzed with the pandemic,” says Fishman, who has appointments in Annenberg and Penn Medicine. “COVID-19 has disproportionately harmed underserved communities, and, at least in our first year, we’re focused on developing and implementing specific countermeasures geared toward the inequalities the pandemic is exacerbating.” Read more at Penn Today.