Mission and Vision

The mission of the Penn Medical Communication Research Institute is to advance medical communication by facilitating research into how medical information is communicated via publications, press releases, and the media. The Institute will research approaches and strategies to deliver medical information in an effective, trustworthy way, which is particularly needed for vulnerable populations who have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19.

The Institute aims to understand:

The flow of scientific information through medical publishing

  • The impact of preprint servers and dissemination of non-peer-reviewed information

  • Enhancement of public trust in the scientific process, including improving communication of errors and educating the public on the self-correcting nature of medical studies and the value of replication and transparency

  • Reduction of deception and bias in reporting as well as identification and transparency of relevant conflicts of interest

  • Optimization of the use of technology to provide content to medical providers

 The flow of medical information through the media

  • Accuracy of press releases in representing study validity and outcomes

  • Impact of the wide distribution of scientific content through press releases

  • Methods employed by reporters to find medical information, prioritize topics, and verify sources

The flow of medical information to the public

  • Sources of medical information by region, literacy level, cultural context, and access

  • Potential benefits of developing a “certified” reference guide and resource for uptake of scientifically accurate medical information

  • Tackling medical misinformation at the algorithmic level to help direct searches toward scientifically accurate sources

  • Strategies to help clinicians respond to patient misperceptions