It can be difficult to distinguish between truth, fiction, half-truth, and misinformation as we watch the news, read headlines, and scroll through various social media feeds. Fortunately, epidemiologists have the tools needed to serve as a practical resource for colleagues, partners, and communities in these situations. The Scrutinizer Challenge initiative is an opportunity for epidemiologists to tackle at least one headline or news story a month that is relevant to public health. The goal is for all of us to understand how we can serve as a practical resource by doing the research needed to examine data sources and implications of news stories and research articles. This process can help us deliver consistent and reliable messages to share with colleagues, partners, and communities. It also provides an opportunity for public health practitioners to consolidate resources and develop working relationships between practice and academia.
The outline below provides guidance on how to approach The Scrutinizer Challenge initiative after identifying a headline/news story or research article of interest:
Scrutinizer Challenge initiative end products include a list of sources and a short explanation about how each source truly contributes to a research article/news story and its implications, as well as one of the following: 1) an actionable summary that could be shared with colleagues or 2) a summary that could be shared with a local partner/the general public.
Scrutinizer Challenge initiative end products should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Submissions may be highlighted in public health newslettters, as a separate report, or used as content in a round table discussion.
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Sophia Anyatonwu, MPH, CPH, CIC