The 1st International Symposium on Understanding Health Benefits and Risks: Empowering Patients and Citizens

Charles Commons Conference Center: Johns Hopkins University
May 28, 2009 – May 29, 2009

This SYMPOSIUM will be held on the campus of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD, USA on May 28-29, 2009. This two day event will provide a forum for professionals from different disciplines to discuss a timely and increasingly important issue – the communication of health benefits and risks to patients and citizens.

The primary purpose of this Symposium is to open a dialogue among policy-makers, physicians, journalists, nurses, the media, the pharmaceutical industry, government agencies, environmental and social scientists, attorneys and academia on how to clearly communicate health risks to the public.

One of the objectives is to discuss and explore specific approaches which have been effective in assisting the public in comprehending and interpreting health risk information. The overall goal is to come to “common ground” so that the public can begin to participate in decisions regarding what constitute acceptable risks and benefits.

Experts from different fields (e.g., medicine, journalists, risk assessors) have been invited and will discuss concepts and present “case studies” pertinent to the theme of this Symposium. Attendees will have an opportunity to discuss and share their views and perspectives.

The decision to hold this Symposium was based, in large part, on positive responses to our book (The Illusion of Certainty-Health Benefits and Risks) from physicians, journalists, other professionals and the general public. The book attempts to put the complexities of risk analysis in terms the general public can understand, thereby, empowering individuals to make well-informed decisions about their health.

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