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Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security Launches New Practice-Oriented Playbook for Addressing Health Misinformation

Center News


February 12, 2024  Today, the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security launched the Practical playbook for addressing health misinformation. The playbook guides users in preparing for and responding to health misinformation, which is a growing public health challenge.

The playbook takes a hands-on approach to help public health practitioners, medical professionals, and health communicators recognize and respond to health-related rumors and misinformation. It provides detailed tools, checklists, templates, and examples written in plain language to support users in:

  • preparing for health-related rumors
  • deciding when to act to address rumors
  • determining which actions to take to address misinformation
  • developing relevant and timely messaging, and
  • gathering feedback about those messages.
Practical playbook for addressing health misinformation cover

“Our team is incredibly proud to share this playbook," said Dr. Sell. “It was designed for all health practitioners and communicators who are working tirelessly to improve public health. We hope this rich resource supports public health professionals as they navigate the complexities of responding to health-related rumors that may damage public health.”

This work was led by Tara Kirk Sell, PhD, MA, senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, with support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The playbook builds on CDC’s new Health Information Management and Alert System, which outlines a 4-phase approach to tackling circulating health misinformation. Aligning with these 4 phases, the playbook’s guidance is organized into stages: Prework: Actions to take before rumors arise, Step 1: Decide whether to address the rumor, Step 2: Take action to address misinformation, and Step 3: Evaluate anti-misinformation messages.

The Practical playbook for addressing health misinformation was written and developed by Aishwarya Nagar, MPH; Vanessa Grégoire, MSc; Annie Sundelson, MSc; Emily O’Donnell-Pazderka, MA; Amelia M. Jamison; and Tara Kirk Sell, PhD, MA. The project team plans to disseminate the playbook widely in the coming months, including sharing across social media, to increase awareness among public health practitioners and others who communicate about health.

The publication was supported by the CDC of the US Department of Health and Human Services. The contents, including references to non-US government sites on the Internet, are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor constitute or imply endorsement by, CDC/HHS or the US government.

For additional inquiries related to the playbook, please contact Dr. Tara Kirk Sell at

For media inquiries, please contact Cagla Giray at