Skip to main content
Current Projects

Addressing Health-Related Misinformation and Disinformation

Health-related misinformation and disinformation represent significant and growing threats to public health emergency preparedness and response (PHEPR) efforts. Misleading or false information has spread during past public health emergencies, and the same or similar rumors likely will circulate during future emergencies. Misinformation often promotes narratives that can hinder effective responses to public health events and erode public trust in health authorities.

New research efforts and innovations are needed to anticipate and proactively address misinformation and disinformation during public health events, establish practical communication solutions, build trust in public health, and ultimately advance the science of risk communication and infodemiology.

The Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security works to address health-related misinformation and disinformation by conducting research, identifying best practices, educating public health practitioners and policymakers, and furthering policy solutions to the problem.

WATCH THIS SPACE 📢 In July 2024, the Center for Health Security will launch a website with resources to help practitioners build trust in public health and proactively address health-related misinformation during public health emergencies. Please visit this page again soon for more information. Until then, see our Practical playbook for addressing health misinformation.

The project team is currently working on an evidence-informed project to help build trust in public health in an environment of misinformation, particularly during public health emergencies. This project aims to:

  • Understand the types of health-related rumors and misinformation that have come up during past public health emergencies.
  • Identify the tools, interventions, and approaches people have used to manage and counter misinformation.
  • Learn from the experiences of public health practitioners and risk communication experts.
  • Establish an evidence-based framework for predicting future misinformation, managing or countering misinformation, and building trust in public health.
  • Create a practitioner-validated checklist to help public health communicators strengthen trust in PHEPR and communicate within an environment of misinformation.
  • Develop a website and online curriculum with tools, resources, and guidance to help practitioners build trust in public health and proactively address misinformation during public health emergencies.

Past work conducted on misinformation and disinformation includes:


Project Team

(listed in alphabetical order)

Lead: Tara Kirk Sell, PhD, MA

Center team: Vanessa Grégoire, MSc; Aishwarya Nagar, MPH; Hannah Ottman-Feeney; Christina Potter, MSPH; Alex Zhu, MSPH

Students: Amelia Jamison, MPH, MA; Emily O’Donnell-Pazderka, MA; Jessica Malaty Rivera, MS; Annie Sundelson, MSc

Past contributors: Richard Bruns, PhD; Arielle D’Souza; Courtney De Balmann; Erin Fink, MS; Johnross Ford, MS, MHS; Divya Hosangadi, MSPH; Noelle Huhn, MSPH; Sarah-Louise Pasquino; Maximillian Schwartz; Ellie Smith, MSPH; Marc Trotochaud, MSPH; Ruth Grace Wong


Project supported by:

  • US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
  • Johns Hopkins University Catalyst Award
  • National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM)
  • Open Philanthropy (past funding support)

Areas of Focus:

  • Medical and Public Health Preparedness and Response
  • Emerging Infectious Diseases and Epidemics
  • Deliberate Biological Threats

Resources and Publications


Peer-reviewed Publication