October 25, 2002
The speaker will describe the critical role of communication during the anthrax attacks. She will identify the lessons learned from that experience and how CDC has expanded its communication capacity to be prepared to respond in the future. Her presentation focuses on complex issues confronting leaders in a crisis such as how to establish trust and credibility, how to cope with uncertainty, how to collaborate successfully with multiple organizations, and how to satisfy 24/7 competitive media.
Dr. Vicki S. Freimuth received her B.S. with Honors in Education from Eastern Illinois University, a M.A. in Rhetoric and Public Address from the University of Iowa, and a Ph.D. in Communication Theory and Research from Florida State University. Dr. Freimuth is the Associate Director for Communication at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia. She has molded CDC since its inception in 1996, expanding communications role and effectiveness among CDCs programs and partners. She has firmly established communication as a core part of the agencys infrastructure and intervention formula. Dr. Freimuth's expertise in the field of communication spans 25 years and has resulted in significant contributions to the study and practice of disease prevention and health promotion. She is an internationally recognized leader in health communication. Formerly, she was the Director of Health Communication and Professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Maryland, College Park. She taught courses in health communication, diffusion of innovations, and research methods. Her research focused on the role of communication in health promotion in the United States and in developing countries. She developed the first graduate program with a health communication focus in this country, an approach that many universities have since emulated. In 1998, she received the prestigious Outstanding Health Communication Scholar Award from the National and International Communication Associations. Dr. Freimuth is the author of many publications, appearing in American Journal of Public Health, Health Education Quarterly, and Journal of Communication. She has been Chair of the Health Communication Division of the International Communication Association and has provided strategic vision on health communication to many private and federal health organizations.