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Local Healthcare Professionals at the Heart of Public Information Campaign

Jun 24, 2020 07:00AM ● By MED Magazine

The South Dakota COVID-19 Community Impact Project has launched a compendium of free health communication resources featuring area healthcare professionals.

The campaign was created in the wake of a statewide survey of 7,000 people showing that South Dakotans trust their doctors and public health officials more than other sources. 

"People value their opinion much more than they value elected officials and the news media," says Chelsea Wesner, MPH, MSW, of USD's School of Health Sciences. "This really demonstrates that they can play a much larger role than they already do in their communities in shaping health policy and larger public health responses." 

The survey, which ran from March 24th through April 30th, was conducted by faculty in the joint USD-SDSU Master of Public Health program and USD's Sanford School of Medicine. Ninety-three percent of respondents said their most trusted source of COVD-19 information is public health officials. Medical doctors came in second at 68 percent. 

"Our primary goal is to inform public health responses as this pandemic evolves and when a vaccine becomes available," says Wesner.

The new public information campaign features a diverse array of community "ambassadors", including a number of physicians and administrators. The group hopes to upload new resources each week and is looking for new ambassadors to submit photos. If you are interested in becoming one, contact [email protected]