Deep Conversations Around Public Health

May 23, 2022

Many people including a person in a wheelchair around a table talking

Jeff Gutierrez, Knowledge Translation Coordinator at RTC:Rural, will be facilitating a communication exercise on “Deep Conversations” as a strategy for addressing COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy and re-establishing trust in public health messaging. Jeff developed this exercise as part of the Rural Institute’s Rural Disability Hub for COVID-19 Vaccination Outreach, an AUCD outreach initiative. On May 26, we will continue refining the exercise through a collaboration with the Southeast Regional SuperHub, which includes organizations in Georgia, Kentucky, South Carolina, North Carolina, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, and Tennessee.

The Deep Conversations exercise is based on research by Broockman & Kalla (2020) focused on reducing exclusionary attitudes through interpersonal conversations. In their field experiments, the researchers identified successful conversational strategies to overcome prejudice to outgroups. Based on feedback from rural hub participants, we saw an opportunity to adapt these strategies to help encourage civil, productive dialogue exploring the intersection of COVID vaccines and people with disabilities. We plan to continue developing this exercise to serve as a useful tool for educating individuals about COVID-19 vaccines, as well as for future use in having community conversations about disability.