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Risk communication has been identified as a core competence for guiding public health responses to infectious disease threats. The International Health Regulations (2005) call for all countries to build capacity and a comprehensive understanding of health risks before a public health emergency to allow systematic and coherent communication, response and management. Research studies indicate that while outbreak and crisis communication concepts and tools have long been on the agenda of public health officials, there is still a need to clarify and integrate risk communication concepts into more standardised practices and improve risk communication and health, particularly among disadvantaged populations. To address these challenges, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) convened a group of risk communication experts to review and integrate existing approaches and emerging concepts in the development of a training curriculum. This curriculum articulates a new approach in risk communication moving beyond information conveyance to knowledge- and relationship-building. In a pilot training this approach was reflected both in the topics addressed and in the methods applied. This article introduces the new conceptual approach to risk communication capacity building that emerged from this process, presents the pilot training approach developed, and shares the results of the course evaluation.


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