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Region 5 Blog June 25th, 2022
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January 2022 NNLM Reading Club: Health Misinformation

Posted by on January 5th, 2022 Posted in: Health Literacy, Health Misinformation, News from NNLM, News from NNLM Region 5
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Health misinformation is a serious threat to public health. It can cause confusion, sow mistrust, harm people’s health, and undermine public health efforts. Limiting the spread of health misinformation is a moral and civic imperative that will require a whole-of-society effort. ~  Vivek H. Murthy, M.D., M.B.A., Vice Admiral, U.S. Public Health Service, Surgeon General of the United States

Health misinformation always has an audience – from snake oil salesmen of ages past to savvy social media health “experts” and “fake news” reports of the present. The pandemic leaves people vulnerable and uncertain. As sophisticated misinformation peddlers take advantage of our 24/7 communications torrent, they make it even harder for people to discern health information fact from fiction.

Critically evaluating health information is a crucial skill in today’s media-driven society. So is understanding the tactics that new-age charlatans use to dupe well-meaning individuals. This month, the NNLM Reading Club suggests three books to help uncover health misinformation – the strategies used to make it believable and the critical thinking skills needed to discover its real character.

Picture of three book covers

It’s Probably Nothing by Casey Gueren l Viral BS by Seema Jasmin l Hype by Nina Shapiro

In It’s Probably Nothing: The Stress-Less Guide to Dealing with Health Anxiety, Wellness Fads, and Overhyped Headlines, experienced health writer and editor Casey Gueren shares tips to build one’s health literacy — like learning to flex your BS detector when searching online. Her tone is bright and cheery – a “you got this” approach to becoming smarter health readers.

Director of the Stanford Health Communication Initiative, Emmy-Award winning writer Seema Jasmin, M.D., addresses viral medical myths and why they are so tenacious in her book Viral BS: Medical Myths and Why We Fall for Them. Dr. Yasmin shares the science refuting 46 falsehoods and talks about why such persistent health untruths persist.

Hype: A Doctor’s Guide to Medical Myths, Exaggerated Claims and Bad Advice was written by Nina Shapiro, M.D., & collaborator Kristin Loberg. In addition to her clinical practice at UCLA’s Mattel Children’s Hospital, Dr. Shapiro is a noted health writer and commentator. She wrote Hype to “wake [people] up to the truth about popular health advice and offer a thoughtful, reliable guide for becoming a smart health consumer and patient.”

We encourage you to learn how to spot health misinformation by reading one of these books and discussing it in your book club. Visit NNLM Reading. Club: Health Misinformation to get started.

Image of the author ABOUT Michele Spatz
Michele is the NNLM Region 5 Outreach and Engagement Coordinator. She has extensive experience providing consumer health information and a passion for health literacy. Michele truly believes, "Because of you, Libraries Transform.®"

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Developed resources reported in this program are supported by the National Library of Medicine (NLM), National Institutes of Health (NIH) under cooperative agreement number UG4LM012343 with the University of Washington.

NNLM and NETWORK OF THE NATIONAL LIBRARY OF MEDICINE are service marks of the US Department of Health and Human Services | Copyright | HHS Vulnerability Disclosure | Download PDF Reader