Scalable, Customizable, Digital Health Communication Materials to Help Canada Address the COVID19 Pandemic

Witteman, Holly M | $311,296

Quebec Université Laval 2020 CIHR Operating Grant

During the COVID‑19 pandemic, people in Canada and elsewhere will be asked to follow public health guidance that will change over time and create challenges in people’s lives. This guidance is based on science that is not always explained clearly. This project will create digital health materials like videos and web applications that will help people better understand the science about COVID-19, including things like the science behind why effective handwashing is so important, why local statistics about cases and deaths seem to fluctuate a lot, how different ways to limit transmission of the virus work, what treatments for COVID‑19 are being studied and what those studies are finding, and what vaccines against COVID‑19 are in development and how the vaccines are performing in clinical studies. Working with a team of highly-qualified scientists, doctors, nurses, and citizen partners, we will develop twelve different materials on different topics related to COVID-19. We will make sure the materials are accurate, understandable, easy to use, and that they can be used by people across Canada who may face barriers; for example, people who are deaf or hard of hearing, and people who have slower or more expensive internet connections. After we have developed them, we will test the materials to see if the materials make sense to people, help people understand the science, increase trust in science and public health, and encourage behaviour that will help Canada and Canadians deal with the COVID‑19 pandemic. We will make the materials available in English, French, Mandarin, Cantonese, Punjabi, Spanish, Arabic, Tagalog, Persian (Farsi), and Urdu. All the materials will be available for free to anyone in Canada and anywhere in the world with an internet connection. We will release all the software code we develop under an open source license so that anyone who wants to do so can use it to build on our work, including updating the science as the science continues to change.

With funding from the Government of Canada

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