Training Journalists and Researchers to Communicate Key Healthcare Findings


Comparing different prevention strategies and comparing different treatment outcomes are both key to better health care. However, it often takes years for new research results to influence patients’ treatment decisions and the practice of medicine. And, the studies that get the most attention are often those promoted by companies that want to encourage sales of their products or services.

The Patient-Centered Outcome Research Institute (PCORI) supports important research that has implications for better medical care.  The impact of these studies will depend on effective dissemination to physicians and patients who can then use the information to inform healthcare decisions. Click here for an example of such research, an important study by Yale’s Dr. Shi-Yi Wang, with implications for tens of thousands of women with the most common type of Stage zero breast cancer (DCIS).

The National Center for Health Research ‘s project “Spreading the Word” is funded through a Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) Eugene Washington PCORI Engagement Award (8598-NCHR).  It is designed to bring together journalists, medical writers, researchers, and medical experts to effectively disseminate findings from PCORI studies and to ensure that the media and medical experts understand and give attention to important new PCORI research findings.

We held our first workshop on March 14-15, 2019.  It focused on clinical effectiveness research, which compares different prevention strategies or different treatments.   We taught journalists to better understand research design, data analysis, and data interpretation, including the types of questions journalists should be asking when reporting on health research. Find more information here.

We also developed a brief webinar that is based on one of the most well-received presentations of our March 2019 workshop.  It  designed for researchers who want to better communicate in an interesting and understandable way with journalists (and the public).   Watch it below.