Massachusetts Medical Society: Health Communication in the Age of Misinformation: Getting from Online Influence to Offline Success - a Case Study on Community Water Fluoridation

Health Communication in the Age of Misinformation: Getting from Online Influence to Offline Success - a Case Study on Community Water Fluoridation

Health Communication in the Age of Misinformation

In this session, learn how the Internet and social networks are changing, and decentralizing, the ways information and misinformation spread, shaping public perspectives of important public health interventions. Through a successful case study of community water fluoridation, participants will discover how evidence from the fields of computer science and business marketing apply to public health communication and effective message delivery. Practical tools, techniques and strategies will be shared to guide participants on how they can adapt and adopt new approaches to enhance health communication success and achieve community trust in evidence based public health measures. 


 Brittany Seymour




Brittany Seymour, DDS, MPH, associate professor, Harvard School of Dental Medicine
Dr. Brittany Seymour studies how misinformation online impacts health decision and policy making around a wide variety of health topics. She has given over 100 presentations and interviews for national and international audiences on her research and publications. These include the CDC’s National Immunization Conference, the American and Ontario Public Health Associations annual meetings, the US Department of State’s Ebola strategic working group, among others. She served as a health consultant and scientific writer for MIT’s Center for Civic Media working with the Robert Wood Johnson and Gates Foundations, and completed a Fellowship with the Harvard Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society. Dr. Seymour was a contributing author to the World Dental Federation’s Oral Health Atlas and the 2020 U.S. Surgeon General’s Report on Oral Health. She is a national consumer spokesperson and a member of the National Fluoride Advisory Committee for the American Dental Association and serves on the Board of Directors for the American Association of Public Health Dentistry.   

Hugh Silk



Hugh Silk, MD, MPH, FAAFP, professor, Family Medicine and Community Health, University of Massachusetts Medical School
Dr. Hugh Silk is a Professor in the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. He also teaches at the Harvard School of Dental Medicine (HSDM). He is co-founder of the award winning national curriculum on oral health for health providers entitled "Smiles for Life". He is the recipient of the American Association of Public Health Dentistry’s 2016 Public Service Award.  When he is not teaching and seeing patients, Hugh is collaborating with HRSA and HSDM to run the new Center for Integration of Primary Care and Oral Health (CIPCOH).

Howard Pollick





Howard F. Pollick, BDS, MPH, professor, University of California, San Francisco School of Dentistry
Dr. Howard Pollick is a health sciences clinical professor and previous director of the accredited dental public health residency program, Department of Preventive & Restorative Dental Sciences, School of Dentistry at the University of California San Francisco. He earned his BDS from Manchester, England and his MPH from UC Berkeley.

Dr. Pollick has lectured and published extensively on the benefits and safety of community water fluoridation in California, nationally and internationally.

A diplomate of the American Board of dental public health since 1985, Dr. Pollick is an American Dental Association expert spokesperson on fluoridation since 2004, a member of the ADA National Fluoridation Advisory Committee and a fluoridation consultant to the California Department of Public Health.

He is the recipient of the 2010 Fluoridation Special Merit Award from the Association of State and Territorial Dental Directors, the 2015 recipient of the UCSF Chancellor’s Award for Public Service, and the recipient of the 2017 John W. Knutson Distinguished Service Award in Dental Public Health from the American Public Health Association’s Oral Health Section. 

Intended Audience
Physicians, students and dental professionals

Course Objectives

  • Discuss the role that online social networks play in the dissemination of information (and misinformation). 
  • Utilize a step-by-step approach for addressing local and specific community and patient concerns arising from online misinformation. 
  • Implement new strategies for making patient and community interactions more personal to shape health dialogues in productive ways. 
  • Advocate for community water fluoridation with patients and the public using facts, science, and personalized persuasive conversations.

Course Fees
Massachusetts Medical Society (MMS) Physician Member: $40.00
MMS Resident/Student Member: Free
Non-Member Physician: $90.00
Non-Members Resident/Student: $20.00
Allied Health Professional/Other: $32.00

Format & Estimated Time to Complete
Video (1 hour)  

Accreditation and Credit Information
Accreditation Statement
This activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with the accreditation requirements and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint providership of the Massachusetts Medical Society and the Massachusetts Dental Society. The Massachusetts Medical Society is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

AMA Credit Designation Statement
The Massachusetts Medical Society designates this internet enduring material for a maximum of 1.00 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

This activity meets the criteria for the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Medicine for risk management study.

Approval Statement
Through the American Board of Medical Specialties (“ABMS”) ongoing commitment to increase access to practice relevant Continuing Certification Activities through the ABMS Continuing Certification Directory, this activity has met the requirements as a Lifelong Learning CME Activity (apply toward general CME requirement) for the following ABMS Member Boards:

Allergy and Immunology
Colon and Rectal Surgery
Family Medicine
Medical Genetics and Genomics
Nuclear Medicine
Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Plastic Surgery
Preventive Medicine
Psychiatry and Neurology
Thoracic Surgery

National Commission on Certification of Physicians Assistant (NCCPA)
Physician Assistants may claim a maximum of 1.00 Category 1 credits for completing this activity. NCCPA accepts AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™ from organizations accredited by ACCME or a recognized state medical society.

Exam/Assessment: A score of 70% or higher is required to receive AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™.

Activity Term
Original Release Date: December 2, 2021
Review Date (s): N/A
Termination Date: December 2, 2024

Course Developers, Reviewers & Web Producer:
Jane E. Gagne, Manager, Accreditation & Education Compliance, NEJM Group Education
Liza B. Martin, Manager, Joint Providership Program, NEJM Group Education
Thelma Tatten, Web Content Production Specialist, NEJM Group Education

System Requirements

Windows 10
Mac OSX 10.6 higher

Most modern browsers including:
IE 11+
Firefox 18.0+
Chrome latest version
Safari 12+

iOS devices beginning with OS version 10 or higher (includes, iPhone, ipad and iTouch devices)

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