Crisis communication strategies for health officials

Zhaohui Su, Huan Zhang, Dean McDonnell, Junaid Ahmad, Ali Cheshmehzangi, Changrong Yuan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Mixed messaging among health officials are prevalent amid COVID-19. Crisis communication strategies have the potential to help health officials effectively address issues such as mixed messages and improve their crisis communication efficacy. However, there is a dearth of insights in the literature. Therefore, to bridge the research gap, this study aims to examine practical strategies health officials can utilize to improve their crisis communication efficacy. Methods: A literature review on effective crisis communication strategies amid COVID-19 was conducted in PubMed, Scopus, and PsycINFO, with a focus on scholarly literature published in English. Results: The findings of the study identified the following strategies that health officials can utilize to improve their crisis communication capabilities: (1) develop fact-based, transparent, and accountable messaging, (2) utilize people-centered and empathetic persuasive strategies, and (3) leverage international collaboration for consistent messaging and comprehensive crisis communication. Conclusion: COVID-19 has challenged health officials with unprecedented crisis communication duties and responsibilities. In this study, we underscored the importance of effective crisis communication amid global health emergencies like COVID-19, and identified communication strategies health officials could adopt or adapt to improve their crisis communication efficacy. Future research could explore strategies health officials can use to better communicate with government officials and media professionals to further help health officials improve their crisis communication capabilities, their abilities to avoid preventable miscommunication or mixed messaging, and in turn, society's collective strengthen in curbing and controlling the pandemic.

Original languageEnglish
Article number796572
JournalFrontiers in Public Health
Publication statusPublished - 22 Nov 2022


  • COVID-19
  • crisis communication
  • health communication
  • health officials
  • public health


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