Looking back at this semester, I feel that we have covered literally just about everything under the sun. Now after a bit of reflection, I can see how all of the topics that we have covered are interrelated in some form or another. Upon reading the syllabus during the first week, I thought that the course’s title would most likely be misleading, but now it is exciting to see the relationships between each class discussion, as well as the readings. The topics that interested me the most from the past 15 weeks of class included; the health gap between the wealthy and those living in poverty, the importance of understanding scientific language and the role it plays in how we view health, and also discussing the plethora of segments that have differing views of the natural environment, and how we communicate effectively with those different segments.
It is hard to wrap my head around the severity of the gap between the unhealthy and the healthy, and how money controls those two groups. Specifically the video we watched that investigated this gap in Louisville KY really hit home, because much like in the video, I can drive through Cincinnati, and notice the same divide in wealth and health just by driving not even a half of a mile in some areas. In a perfect world I would love to see the gap in incomes shrink, but I know that will not be the solution. Instead we have to find ways to change the ongoing cycle of poverty by offering educational outlets for youth, and opportunities for adults to become more successful. In my opinion, the education of our youth is the key. If we can reach children who are growing up in poverty, and give them the knowledge and skills to become a contributing member of society I think that we would see the gap get more narrow. As for adults who are suffering in poverty, I think that they need opportunities to either learn new skills that give them a chance to find work, and we need to realize that even though universal healthcare may be too much of a drastic change, we must find a way to reach out to those who simply cannot afford help.
Before this semester, I never really cared to try and understand scientific language. It is dry, and difficult for the average person to understand. After reading our second assigned text, it was clear to me that being able to decipher scientific language is a crucial skill to develop. Emphasis on crucial, because a surprising amount of scientific research directly or indirectly effects me personally. For instance, our 1st case involved understanding and communicating the Zika virus to an audience of college age women. To be honest I had heard of the Zika virus, but could not tell you one thing about the virus. I assumed that it was only prevalent in undeveloped countries, but after researching the virus, and deciphering what it truly is I came to find that not only can it effect people near me, but it becomes more of a risk during the approaching summer months, and more importantly it could effect children I may plan on having. The scariest part though is I would not even know until it was too late.
Lastly, I enjoyed learning about the differing segments of the US population with regards to climate change, modeled off of the Yale study. In my mind climate control was split down the middle, 50/50. I never imagined that there would be so many variations of beliefs. Not only was it interesting to see what those segments were, but also how we as health communication professionals could effectively communicate facts to those segments. Most importantly the 97% of the scientific community backing the fact that climate change is real. From our class discussion, I tend to believe that we need to focus communication efforts on the segments of the population that do believe climate change is a thing, and convince them to educate themselves, and do something about it together. Do not ignore attempting to educate the other side of the spectrum, but those who do not believe, or have knowledge of climate change are not the majority of our population.