As epidemiologists, political scientists, historians, and public policy scholars, we will compare eight democratic countries (Taiwan, South Korea, Germany, New Zealand, Canada, Sweden, Norway, and Denmark) during Covid-19 to derive best practices on health communications. Our project is the first international comparison of communications as a medical intervention and the first to consider how democratic Covid communications can increase compliance. We published a policy report in September so our suggestions may be implemented before a potential second wave in fall/winter 2020. We have confirmed multiple partnerships for research (e.g. Chatham House), op-eds (e.g. Brookings), and webinars to ensure international uptake.
Dr. Heidi Tworek is Associate Professor of International History and Public Policy at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver. She is a non-resident fellow at the German Marshall Fund of the United States and the Canadian Global Affairs Institute. She is the author or co-editor of three books as well as over 30 journal articles and book chapters. Her latest book is the prizewinning News from Germany: The Competition to Control World Communications, 1900-1945 (Harvard University Press, 2019).
Tworek’s current work examines the history and policy around health communications. The COVID-19 Wall Solutions grant has enabled her to assemble a team to look at how nine democracies on five continents have communicated around Covid-19. You can find the policy report, co-authored with Dr. Ian Beacock and Eseohe Ojo, hosted by UBC’s Centre for the Study of Democratic Institutions here. The report has already garnered coverage by STAT News, Financial Times, and several radio appearances across Canada.
Tworek’s policy work has led to testimonies before and advice to governments around the world on social media, hate speech, and disinformation. Alongside regular appearances on radio and TV, her writing in English and German has appeared in media outlets including The Atlantic, Foreign Affairs, Washington Post, Columbia Journalism Review, The Independent, and Süddeutsche Zeitung. She is a contributing editor to the Brookings Institution TechStream.