We invited Dr. Kinoshita and Dr. Yamamoto, who have been a source of information to the Japanese public through COVID-19 crisis by being prominent figures on social media. We conducted a series of discussions to ask them about their perspectives on the challenges in scientific communication.
Part 1 focuses on the common misconceptions around scientific information. As COVID-19 spread across the world, new information came to light, little by little. Unsurprisingly, people were confused, especially when they saw disagreement among “experts” or change in opinion by specific experts as time went on. Dr. Yamamoto and Dr. Kinoshita discuss the nature of scientific information, how best to engage with scientific information, and how to critically absorb information from experts for those who are not trained scientists.
Part 2 focuses on how to critically gather scientific information as someone who is not necessarily trained in science. Dr. Yamamoto and Dr. Kinoshita emphasize the importance of evidence-based discussions and the importance of flexibly evaluating information as new evidence become available as well as the credibility of the source of that information.
Part 3 focuses on how to watch and gather information from experts on television (in Japan) critically.
Part 4 focuses on the importance of skills as an information provider. Traditionally, most scientists have not necessarily have had training in communication and messaging – but the pandemic has shown the importance of communication directly from experts.
Part 5, Dr. Kinoshita and Dr. Yamamoto share their story of why they work hard towards sharing their expertise with the public, and how COVID-19 has affected sharing of information in the public in general.
About the panelists
Dr. Takahiro Kinoshita (MD, MPH) is a healthcare data scientist who works in the US. He has actively communicated with the public using social media platforms during the pandemic to build trust in science. He is currently working on a social marketing campaign to increase awareness of the HPV vaccine in Japan.
Dr. Takehito Yamamoto is a surgeon specializing in gastroenterology. He is also known as “Surgeon KEIYU” with a popular twitter account and a blog in which he covers health literacy for the public and patient-doctor communication.