Public Health Institute to Host Webinar on Dec. 18 to Share COVID-19 Data

SPRINGFIELD — As cases of COVID-19 surge in the region and across the country, the Public Health Institute of Western Massachusetts will host a webinar, open to the public and public-health representatives, on Friday, Dec. 18 from 11 a.m. to noon to share regional COVID-19 data and effective health communication for prevention, featuring experts from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and UMass Amherst.

The webinar will be livestreamed by Focus Springfield Community Television on YouTube Live at focusspringfield.com/covidtownhall. For more information or to register for the webinar, visit tinyurl.com/phiwmwebinar.

Dr. Catherine Brown, state epidemiologist for the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH), will discuss the COVID-19 data being collected by MDPH and what has been learned.

Brown, who has been with MDPH since 2006, is responsible for ensuring surveillance for more than 90 reportable infectious diseases as well as overseeing surveillance data analysis and dissemination. She is currently serving as the infectious disease committee chair for the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists. She also serves as the state’s public-health veterinarian.

Devon Greyson, assistant professor in the Department of Communication at UMass Amherst, will discuss what we know about effective health communication for COVID-19 and some local efforts with which the department is involved.

At UMass Amherst, Greyson studies what people do with information and when this matters to health and social equity. Greyson’s current work explores the ways people and health systems negotiate contested knowledge around topics such as vaccines and cannabis use, and how information could be used more effectively to promote the health of populations.