Reaching the Unconvinced: Messaging that Breaks Through Hesitancy and Misinformation
U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek H. Murthy joined the Public Health Communications Collaborative for a timely, one-on-one interview with Dr. J. Nadine Gracia, President and CEO of Trust for America’s Health. Dr. Murthy shared insights, best practices, and reflections about effective COVID-19 public health communications. The conversation covered messaging priorities and strategies for reaching unvaccinated people and overcoming misinformation, reflections on the future of public health, and perspectives on how to instill empathy in health communications.
- Answers to Tough Questions: Messaging guidance for evolving COVID-19 communications issues
- Misinformation Alerts: Tracking and response recommendations about COVID-19 misinformation spreading online, on social media, and in blogs and other news sources.
- Confronting Health Misinformation: The U.S. Surgeon General’s Advisory on Building a Healthy Information Environment
- COVID-19 and Mental Health – “How Right Now”: CDC resources to promote the strength and resiliency of populations adversely affected by COVID-19-related stress, grief, and loss. (Available in Spanish)
Dr. Nadine Gracia:
Welcome, everyone, and thank you for attending today’s Public Health Communications Collaborative virtual event. My name is Nadine Gracia and I’m the President and CEO of Trust for America’s Health. We are so honored today to have the opportunity to speak with the United States’ Surgeon General, Dr. Vivek Murthy, who is going to share with us the work that he’s engaged in to ensure that critical health information reaches the public during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. Dr. Murthy is an incredible leader, championing and promoting the health and well-being of our nation and is a trusted voice in public health. As a note, this interview was pre-recorded on Friday, August 13th, 2021. Dr. Murthy, welcome. Thank you so very much for making the time in what we know is a very demanding schedule to speak with our public health colleagues from all across the country.
Dr. Vivek Murthy:
Well, thank you so much. I’m so glad we’re having this conversation together, and as a bonus, doing this with an old friend in you Nadine is all the better. So, thanks for having me.
Dr. Nadine Gracia:
Likewise. Thank you, Dr. Murthy. Well, let’s get right into our conversation. We’re speaking today in particular to local, state, territorial, tribal, public health officials who have been on the front lines of this pandemic. And we know that public communications are obviously a critical part of any public health emergency. And that has been true in during the COVID-19 pandemic, but it’s also often a moving target. So, let’s focus on this week in particular. What are you focused on in terms of messaging this week?
Dr. Vivek Murthy:
A good question. And you’re absolutely right that it has been a moving target during this pandemic. We’re just overwhelmed with new information, it feels like every day, that comes our way and figuring out what’s a priority and also what’s true and what’s not true is harder than ever before. But this week for me, I’ve been focused, I would say, on three co-priorities. So, one has been talking to the public about the Delta variant and the new impact that it’s having, evolving, in fact, I should say, in our communities, including especially our hospitals. The second focus has been on schools, especially as many kids go back to school this week and more will in the next couple of weeks, talking to parents at large about what you should expect about precautions that they can take to help keep their kids safe has been an important priority. And then the third topic actually has been around additional doses for the immunocompromised. So, this is a topic that has particularly been in the news the last 48 hours.
The FDA just recently announced that they were authorizing a third dose for those who are immunocompromised. So, in moments like that one, there is breaking news, new developments that people need to understand. And when they’re wondering, hey, does this apply to me or how should I think about this for our family members? I try to lean into those issues as well. So, those have been, I would say, the three topics that I’ve been most focused on this week.
Dr. Nadine Gracia:
Those are three critical topics and indeed have really been areas that we know the public health and really weighing in on in particular recently. When we talk about specifically schools and the return to schools, as you mentioned, that’s been getting a great deal of focus and attention. Curious to hear from you, just in particular, some of the most effective messaging that you’ve been utilizing and seeing, working with regards to discussing this issue of the return to schools and how to do so safely.
Dr. Vivek Murthy:
Parents in particular, whenever we can, we should just do this broadly, just be honest about what we know, honest about what we don’t know and be clear about where we’re certain and where there is uncertainty when that remains. And, look, nobody can predict the future. But I do think that there is a risk here that many of us in public roles take on. And that’s the risk… I think, of it… We want to remain and appear confident and clear. We want to convey to other people that we know what we’re doing, but we also don’t want to create false confidence. And sometimes the easiest way to convey confidence is to be definitive and say, yes, if you do X, Y, Z, nothing bad will happen. I can assure you, you can go forth and not worry at all. And the reality is often not quite that, life is never that certain. And so, I think to really just be up front with people and clear about what we know and what we don’t know is, I think, the right thing to do.
The tricky part is how to make that simple and comprehensible, because if you introduce too much nuance into conversations, it can just get extraordinarily confusing. So, when it comes to schools, for example, like I tell parents, look, the good news is that we know that children do much, much better even if they get COVID than older adults do. That’s all working in our favor. The other piece of good news is that we’ve learned a lot during this pandemic about how we can reduce risk for our kids in schools, and that includes masking and testing and improving ventilation and ensuring that we’re keeping kids home when they’re sick and making sure kids are washing their hands on a regular basis. These are all things that we can do in addition to trying to operate outdoors in lunch time and other settings whenever possible. It’s gonna all help keep or reduce the risk to our kids. But we also know that we’re walking into the most transmissible variant that we’ve dealt with during this entire epidemic and that’s the Delta variant.
And there probably will be cases at schools and we will have to figure out how to identify them and contain them quickly. That might mean that there are times when kids will have to quarantine. And so, we have to recognize that it may be a reality and we’ve got to be nimble and able to respond to those kind of circumstances, game out what we might do if that circumstance were to arise. I would love to just be able to tell people everything’s gonna be perfectly fine and as long as your child wears a mask, the there’s zero risk. But the reality is a little bit more complicated. So, overall, I still feel optimistic about our kids doing well overall, but I do think that there will be some bumps in the road ahead, and that’s ultimately the broader picture I try to convey to parents.
Dr. Nadine Gracia:
Those are excellent, excellent messages and lessons to be shared, certainly with our audience. And you touched upon, I think, an important issue, which is that one of the challenges that the public health officials have been facing is how to be seen as that trusted source of information, especially when the guidance around COVID-19 safety measures, prevention mitigation measures may be changing, as you noted, due to new data, due to the evolving science. And just even, for example, this week, CDC released new guidance on pregnancy and the COVID-19 vaccine. As you talked about, just, for example, with schools, just in other areas, what other kind of takeaways would you give to our state and local officials about how to message that changing public health guidance that conveys, as you noted, that confidence and that transparency as well that’s needed?
Dr. Vivek Murthy:
Well, this is one, I think, of the hardest parts of the pandemic, is dealing with the fact that as we learn more about this virus and as the pandemic evolves, guidance often will change. And thinking about it just in a very black and white way, some people might think, why did you tell me something two months ago now you’re telling me something different today? Does that mean you don’t know what you’re talking about? And that’s always the challenge here, is helping people understand that we’ve got to change when the science changes and that’s what’s got to guide us. But I actually think that people are willing to hear those messages, but what affects how clearly they hear them is the trust that they have with the messengers. And this is, I think, the challenging part, which is the best time to build trust is before a pandemic. And obviously, we don’t have that option right now. But I do think that the steps that we take to listen to other people are actually very powerful pathways through which we can actually build trust because people are more likely to trust you if feel that you understand them and that you respect them.
I think also being open with them about what we don’t know and don’t know, actually, even though it might seem to some people that it might make people think that you’re not a strong leader, I actually do think it engender trust. People, I think, are always wary that things are being hidden from them and helping them understand, again, the pros and cons, what you know, don’t know I think is a step in the right direction. And I think also just when considering this, recognizing that sometimes our voice isn’t always the best voice, but the role that we can play to get information across is often to bring other trusted voices together. So, I think about, for example, a conversation in a group that we were having with the governors periodically, Governor Asa Hutchinson who is governor of Arkansas, he has shared publicly about the town halls that he has been doing in Arkansas to help people understand more about COVID-19. But one of the approaches that he took, which I thought was very thoughtful, was he organized a town hall, but the people that he put at the front to actually talk directly to the community were local voices, were local doctors and nurses and other local leaders.
And that’s a really powerful way, I think, that leaders, whether it’s a governor or whether it’s state health leaders, can actually do a huge amount of good in helping convey the facts and right information to people is actually assembling the right voices who they already trust and maybe more likely to listen to. So, those are just a few ways in which I think we can help communicate to the public during an ever changing pandemic, where a guidance may shift, where recommendations may change. And I’d love to tell you that nothing else is gonna change in the future, but we just don’t know ’cause it depends on what happens and we are in a whole conversation right now around whether the third doses will be needed or second doses for people who had one dose vaccine to give them additional longer protection from COVID-19. As of today, the recommendation is not to give people that added shot, but as the data evolves, it’s very possible that could change. It depends on what the data tells us.
So, the last thing I would say on this is sometimes pre-paving a little bit with people I think it’s important, too. If we are too definitive that, yes, you don’t need to do anything differently right now. This is all you need to know and it’s how it’s gonna be for the foreseeable future, then when we do have to change, people think, hey, why did you give me a false reassurance before? And so personally, what I like to do is where there is a possibility things may shift is just to give people an inkling of that and just say, hey, look, there are several things we’re actually following here. And if those change, like if, for example, we see more breakthrough infections or if we see them in a particular population, we might revise our guidance based on what the science says, but give them a little bit of an inkling of what may be to come so they’re not totally surprised if things do change.
Dr. Nadine Gracia:
Such great advice, as you noted, that you’re really walking through, rocking the community through to understand how you’re making these decisions, but also giving them an idea that things might change and that you’ll come back with that type of information and then to use the trusted messengers. We’ve talked about that extensively and as you noted, the importance of building these relationships and partnerships before the crisis. But we’re obviously in the crisis now and you certainly are someone who has encountered people who say they’re not going to be vaccinated. And the challenge that we face with regards to concerns of trust and safety and other reasons with regards to the vaccine. How do you intend to respond to when you hear someone saying that they’re not gonna get the vaccine? And what types of messages have you found to be most effective in addition to using trusted messengers to be able to get them to a place where they might feel comfortable to get the vaccine?
Dr. Vivek Murthy:
It’s a really good question and this is how I think about it. When talking to those who are unvaccinated, I have a few simple things that I walk through. Number one to listen. Number two, don’t judge. Number three, share my own personal experience if it’s appropriate. And then fourth and last, share information. And I mention this because I think sometimes, especially when we encounter people who may not want to be vaccinated because they’ve bought into a myth out there about COVID-19 causing infertility – which we know is a myth, that’s not true -, but sometimes the inclination is, OK, let’s hit them with information. Let’s make sure they know about the studies that have been done that disprove that. But think of it this way, that if you give people a lot of information when their ears are closed, it’s not really useful. So, what do we need to do to ensure that people are just giving us a chance and are willing to listen so that their ears are opening up, if you will?
And that’s where I think honestly a lot of these lessons, which I know you know inherently and intrinsically, Nadine, from our practice of doctoring and the things that we were taught in medical school and in residency training about how to have a conversation with the patient. And we were taught you don’t bust in through the door and say, I think you’ve got a pneumonia and I’m gonna give you this, then roll out the door. You walk in and you try to understand the situation, recognizing that, yes, you may have seen the X-ray ahead of time. You may have heard the story from somebody else, but maybe read the chart and seen their vital signs and their temperature, but there may be other elements of this story that you don’t get. And similarly, with people who are unvaccinated, we don’t always know why they’re unvaccinated. And sometimes I think we assume that they just bite into some false story about it. But maybe they had a relative who had a bad experience with the health care system and that’s what’s bothering them.
Maybe they themselves have had trouble. Maybe they had difficulty with adverse reaction to another vaccine years ago. And so, they’re just generally worried about vaccines. Like we’ve got to understand where people are coming from. We’ve got to also help them understand that we’re not there to judge them. I think people are often, especially in an environment like this, which is becoming more and more polarized around vaccinations, I think, where vaccinated people are often feeling angry at the unvaccinated, unvaccinated are feel judged by the vaccinated. I think people assume that if you don’t share their point of view, that you’re gonna judge them. I think assuring them that, look, you recognize everyone make their own decision here and people have different life experiences, you’re there to understand what theirs is, I think can be an important starting point. And then after that, I think sharing your own experiences, I think, can be instructive. I always tell people about how I made the decision about urging my family to get vaccinated, my wife, my grandmother, my parents, my sister.
And I think it means something to people to know that you don’t just believe in this because it’s your job, but you’re actually having your family follow suit with the same advice that you’re trying to give. And then finally, at the very end, I’ll share some information about maybe data that we have or that may support the idea of the vaccines and really the fact that the vaccines are both safe and effective.
Dr. Nadine Gracia:
That’s such great advice, especially on your point about not being judgmental and listening and actually learning the reasons why someone might not want to get take the vaccine at this time. Really helpful information, I think, and sharing your own personal story as well within your own family. You took a very important step last month when you released your first surgeon general’s advisory in this term as surgeon general, specifically on the issue of confronting health misinformation. And we know that that’s also an important contributor with regards to why individuals and families may have some concerns about the vaccine. Can you tell us the challenge of actually health officials being able to keep up with the health and misinformation, how you have actually tried to address this issue in particular?
Dr. Vivek Murthy:
It’s been a really vexing challenge to address health misinformation. I mean, we’ve seen health misinformation take a toll on our health for a long time. Misinformation is not new, it’s been floating around for generations. But seeing the speed and scale and sophistication with which it spreads increased so dramatically in recent years has been really disturbing. And I heard also from doctors that would say, “We go and we battle COVID during the day and then we come home at night and we battle COVID misinformation from family and friends and patients who are e-mailing us and texting us with a whole set of myths about COVID-19 that they’ve heard on social media or through other channels.” And so, this is actually adding yet another burden to our health care workers, but it’s actually harming people’s health. The number of people I talked to that decided not to get vaccinated because they’ve heard a myth is extraordinary. And we know that about two thirds of the unvaccinated, they believe common myths about COVID-19 or think that those myths might be true.
So, what I think about addressing misinformation, yes, I think about what we can do as individuals, think some of the steps we talked about before to pre-bunk or to raise in advance common myths that we think people may be hearing and help them understand why they aren’t true. And think about how we can build trust ourselves so that we can be conveyors of accurate information. But I also recognize that to do this and to do this well, as we stated in the surgeon general’s advisory, we actually need an all of society response. So, we need actually our colleagues in medicine and in nursing and in health care to actually take an even more active role in speaking to the public in their communities, whether that’s speaking to the media, whether that’s speaking at their child’s PTA meeting or at their faith organization to help people get the facts. But we also need journalists and the media to think about what they are doing and can do to ensure that their coverage focuses on informing people, not on alarming them.
And when you look at the headlines, often devoid of context that we see sometimes on the news, I worry at times. I know the journalists are trying very hard to get this right and a lot of them are doing a really good job. But all of us have to step up and do a bit better here, especially when I see on the media false equivalence being given to people who have factual information and then to those who may be peddling misinformation with the way that sometimes it’s portrayed on TV is that these are both equally valid points of view. Whereas the reality is that there’s fact and there’s fiction and it is actually not OK to amplify the misinformation that’s out there, just positing it as an alternative point of view that requires equal attention. So, there’s a lot that can be done by different sectors. But the last two that I’ll mention are in the advisory we actually talked about the importance of individuals considering what role they may inadvertently be playing in spreading misinformation.
So, every time we share something on social media, we should ask, is that coming from a scientifically credible source? And if it’s not then we shouldn’t share. And that’s actually one of the key messages we have for the public in the advisory, we said, “If you’re not sure, don’t share.” That should be our default, because how many times does it happen that you or I or others who are listening to this will get a text message from a friend with an article that’s incorrect about COVID-19 or the vaccine. We see this on social media all the time I’m sure in our feeds, inaccurate information being passed back and forth. But that’s why we’ve got to raise the bar in our sharing. And finally, tech companies themselves. The platforms, the social media platforms, I believe, have a greater responsibility here to manage the harms that may be generated on their site. I don’t think any of these platforms began because they wanted to willfully spread misinformation or they wanted to harm people’s health.
But I think when you see harm being amplified on your site, when you see your product being leveraged for sometimes the willful spread of misinformation, something we call it disinformation, and it’s really incumbent on those platforms to act. And I believe they have a moral responsibility to be accountable, to be transparent about how much misinformation is flowing on their sites and how effective their interventions are. There’s more that they’ve got to do. And that’s one of the key messages we had in the advisory as well.
Dr. Nadine Gracia:
Excellent. There is fact and there is fiction and we need a whole of society approach. Definitely some key messages as we address disinformation. And you also touched upon another challenge that we face in health communications during the pandemic, that it’s been complicated by partisan politics. And in some instances as well, by what we see as racism. And would love to hear more of your advice about how to be able, how you actually address these types of issues and really trying to convey information to the public.
Dr. Vivek Murthy:
It’s been really concerning just to see how the polarization that we’ve seen in the political sphere has infected, if you will, our response to the pandemic over the last 18 months. And it’s unfortunate, these pandemic responses should be unifying. They should be times where we put everything else aside and we put our health first and we use science to guide us. And I think the polarization, I think, is being now reflected in the kind of divide we see over who is willing to get vaccinated and not, around who’s contributing to the spread of misinformation at times or consuming misinformation. And this is just very, very concerning. And so, I think, as we think about addressing it, I think one is, how do we number one, not contribute to that political divide, how do we bring this back to the human response by putting forward the stories of those who are struggling and suffering, by recognizing explicitly the goals that we share in common, which is to protect ourselves, to protect our families.
I think also increasingly, sadly, because of the Delta wave and the growing number of people who have become sick, I do think that many people are seeing folks in their communities who are affected and those who thought, well, it’s not a big deal, it’s moved on, are recognizing, you know what? This actually is a big deal and we have to pay attention to it when they’re seeing how many folks who are getting sick in their communities who are unvaccinated compared to the small number of people, very small who are getting seriously ill who are vaccinated I think it’s making people rethink. Maybe there is something to this vaccine. So, I think that’s partly why we’re seeing vaccination rates go up. But I think if we want to contribute to bringing people together into healing, we have to, as messengers, continue to amplify and be explicit about the concerns we share in common. I think if you get people together and have them articulate their shared concerns, whether it’s about keeping their kids safe when they go to school in the fall, whether it’s about making sure that their elderly relative at home is safe, or whether it’s making sure that they themselves are OK because maybe they’re immunocompromised or they’ve got another medical condition, those are the shared concerns, I think, that can unite people, that can take the past some of these common divides.
And if we can facilitate those kind of conversations as leaders, I think we can do a lot to contribute to the healing that’s really needed.
Dr. Nadine Gracia:
Absolutely, absolutely. You know, with all of these challenges that we’ve talked about and ways in which we address these challenges, you know it as well and have been concerned, I think, on this issue for many years, that the public health workforce has been truly working tirelessly to respond to this pandemic at the same time that they’re also addressing the day to day core public health activities, functions and services. And this has led to burnout. It’s led to departures from the sector. What can we do to address the well-being of our workforce?
Dr. Vivek Murthy:
This is not only the right question now, but I think it’s a question that if we don’t address, it will hurt us even after the pandemic. Our public health leaders and our public health departments have been heroes long before the pandemic. I think most people didn’t know that because as we often say in public health, when you’re doing your job, people don’t know you’re there because bad things aren’t happening. And that’s an unfortunate thing because I think it’s what’s allowed the budgets of public health departments to be slashed and never replenished, even when the economy came back. I think it’s because a lot of folks don’t fully, again, appreciate the full role that public health workers play. I do think that that has shifted some during this pandemic where more people do recognize, gosh, we need to invest in public health, but the polarization around the response has also led so many public health workers to be demonized and targeted and threatened in ways that I think only contributed to the burnout that you spoke of and the departures that we’re seeing.
So, I think if we want to address this, I think there a number of things that we actually have to do. I think some very technical level. I think we’ve got to make sure that we are actually funding public health adequately going forward. The notion that we are somehow going to succeed in attracting emerging leaders in public health to run underfunded departments that have to deal with the kind of polarization and lack of appreciation that so many public health workers have dealt with. I mean, that feels like a stretch. So, we’ve got to think, how do we improve this profession, especially for incoming as well as our current day leaders? I think funding is actually an important piece of that. I think the other thing that we have to do is think about how we are investing in our communities to support the mental health of our public health workers. Like what do we do to understand, for example, where they are in terms of their mental health and emotional well-being? What resources do we have to support them, not just when they’re in crisis, but on a regular basis before they get to a crisis?
How are we managing the workloads of our public health workers, which again comes to the issue in part of funding. But these are some of the things I think that we could do to help strengthen the well-being in our workforce. And then the final thing I would say is it has to do with community. We’ve seen this in medicine as well, where another profession, where burnout rates are extraordinarily high, especially during this pandemic, but even preceding it, that having the opportunity to bring people together to share their concerns, but to find healing in one another and to support one another can be extraordinarily helpful actually and just incredibly renewing. And it has to do with the fact that our relationships are a buffer to stress. We’ve known that for a long time. We’ve seen that play out across generations. But the irony is that when we are in these extraordinary 100 hour plus weeks working where people feel, wait, I don’t have time for relationships and for friendships, I can barely find time to eat and sleep, much less catch up with others.
But this is where the relationship with our colleagues becomes really important, the people we’re spending so much of our days with. And when I was a surgeon, when you and I worked together, we were starting to build in practices into our day to day routine at work that helped actually foster stronger connections between members of our team to help them learn unexpected but important things about each other that helped them formulate or form bonds with one another that went beyond the task that may be immediately at hand. And we found that those were immensely helpful in creating a work environment that was not only more positive and enjoyable, but where people had the support that they needed to make it through difficult and challenging times. So, these are all elements, I think, that we have to pay attention to. But I think as a country especially coming out of this, we have a responsibility to think about our clinicians and our public health workers and how we build a national agenda around their well-being with the appropriate investment, the appropriate data collection and tracking to make sure that we are moving forward and strengthening the well-being and resilience of our public health workers.
Dr. Nadine Gracia:
Absolutely, absolutely. And if we can just squeeze in one final question with you, Dr. Murthy. You come into this role with such significant experience, certainly, as you noted, from your first 10 years as Surgeon General and COVID-19 is certainly a leading priority at this time. Could you take a moment and share with us your overall priorities as surgeon general and especially as they relate to public health?
Dr. Vivek Murthy:
I do feel very grateful to have had the chance to serve in government before, especially coming into this job in the middle of a pandemic, there wasn’t a whole lot of time to just solely learn the job, we all had to hit the ground running. And so, it was very helpful to have some prior experience. But this time around, I think, every time you do a job like this it’s different depending what’s happening in the country and COVID has changed everything. My priorities, though, are first and foremost making sure we address the acute need around COVID. And that means communicating to the public about what we need to do, but also helping to contribute to and drive conversations internally with the rest of the team and the administration about where we need to be looking ahead to and so that we are anticipating what may come and then planning for it. But the other areas that I really feel passionately about and want to focus on during my tenure include mental health, particularly for youth.
This is an area where we struggled long before the pandemic and the tool that our mental health challenges take on not just our physical health, not just on our economic productivity, but on our sense of fulfillment and happiness is really profound. And if we think about our younger generation in particular, which has struggled with extraordinarily high levels of anxiety and depression and suicide, we know we have a lot of work to do. So, that is one priority. The other priority area for me is actually the well-being of our clinicians and public health workers. Recognizing that, again, just as we said earlier, that it is our ability to take care of those who are charged with taking care of us that will allow us not only to do right by them, but to ensure that we have a stable, strong foundation for health in our country going forward. And then the last area that I’ll mention that we’re focused on, in addition to mental health and clinician well-being, has to do with misinformation, the broader area that we spoke about earlier and one that is really profoundly affecting our ability to address health.
This is connected to mental health, but I’ll break it out as a separate thing, because in my heart, it is a bit separate is also the issue of loneliness and social connection, which we think of sometimes as connected to mental health and well-being, but I think it also is a somewhat distinct priority that we’re gonna be pursuing in parallel. To me, this is about a broader issue that’s connected to health and that’s bigger than health. It’s about the question of how do we, number one, recognize that a lot of people in society are struggling with extraordinarily high levels of loneliness in not just the United States, but in many countries around the world. It has profound implications for our physical and mental health and that’s something we talk about very openly. But at the heart of addressing lonelines and building social connection community is, I think, the deeper question of what kind of society we want to be, like are we in the United States 320 million plus individuals who look out for ourselves and make our own decisions and live lives in parallel?
Or are we one community, are we one nation, are we groups of individuals who recognize that we are often stronger and better when we are together? And in fact we rely on our connections with other people for our safety, our survival and our overall sense of well-being. And that community ethos, building and strengthening the backbone, a social connection in our lives, that, to me, is one of the most important public health priorities. I think, that we have to address in the days and in the months and years ahead. And if we do that, I think it will give us a stronger foundation not only for improving health, but for ensuring that our kids learn better, that our people do better in the workplace, because we know that when kids and adults struggle with loneliness, it impacts how they perform in school, it impacts how they learn, it impacts how they contribute to the workplace, how creative they are as well. So, our social connection is our fuel. It’s one of our lifelines. For many people, it’s weakened over time, but we have an opportunity, I think, to refocus on connection and community, and that is one of the priorities I’d like to focus on during my time.
Dr. Nadine Gracia:
Thank you so much, Dr. Murthy. I can certainly speak to you for hours just with regards to the important work that you are doing and the messages that you’re sharing. And we look forward to certainly working with you to advance these priorities. Your insights have just been incredible and we appreciate all that you’re doing to advance the health of the nation. I’d like to take this time to thank our audience for watching this interview and lots of other messaging related to COVID-19. Messaging materials are available on the Public Health Communications Collaborative website at publichealthcollaborative.org. Thank you again for your time today and we’ll be announcing the topic of our next webinar for the Public Health Communications Collaborative in a few weeks. Take care, everyone, be well and stay safe. Thank you again.
Dr. Vivek Murthy:
Thanks so much, Nadine. Thanks, everyone.
Dr. Nadine Gracia: