Provide a brief description of three communities to which you belong and how significant these communities are in your life. Then explain how your communication about public health issues might differ among those communities. Finally, explain whether or not you must belong to a community in order to communicate health information to them and effect change.
As people, we typically belong to a variety of communities. Some of these are more important to us than others. Three communities I belong to include the town in which I live, the school at which I teach and coach, and my collection of friends. Of these, the town is not very important to me except as a place to live. I do not feel a very special affinity with every other member of my town. Were it not for the memories I have made here and the friends I have, the town would have little meaning to me. My school is more important. There are fewer people in the school and I interact with them more regularly. I therefore care more about them and about the school than I do about the town in general. Finally, my friends are the most important community of these three. I care most about them and my interactions with them are more intimate.
My communication about public health issues would definitely be different in these different communities. I would not typically communicate with random townspeople about public health issues. I would not be very likely to pay a great deal of attention to what they had to say on such issues unless I had reason to believe that they had special knowledge. In school, I am more likely to communicate on these issues as a teacher. In other words, I am likely to speak to students about community health issues in the process of trying to educate them about those issues. My communications with my friends about health issues will be the most intimate. I am more likely to tell them more about my experiences with public health issues and I am more likely to care about what they have to say on such issues.
In my opinion, you do not have to belong to a community in order to communicate with them on public health issues and to bring about change. This is because public health issues are an area in which we are more likely to trust experts than to trust those we know. For example, if I am interested in issues of obesity and nutrition, I am more likely to trust a science reporter whom I have never met than one of my friends. I am much more likely to believe that the reporter knows what he or she is talking about than to believe that my friends know a great deal on the subject. I am therefore more likely to change my behaviors because of what I read in articles on this subject than because of what I hear my friends or my colleagues at school saying.