Theoretical Perspectives on Public Communication Preparedness for Terrorist Attacks

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The experience of federal health authorities in responding to the mailed anthrax attacks in the Fall of 2001 sheds light on the challenges of public information dissemination in emergencies. Lessons learned from the Fall of 2001 have guided more recent efforts related to crisis communication and preparedness goals. This article applies theories and evidence from the field of communication to provide an orientation to how public health communication can best contribute to the preparedness effort. This theoretical orientation provides a framework to systematically assess current recommendations for preparedness communication.

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