The Covid-19 pandemic has brought into sharp focus medical, health, and science misinformation but this threat is nothing new. Health misinformation is pervasive, standing as one of the top threats to public health worldwide.

Health misinformation is a longstanding challenge that operates at the interplay of psychological, social, economic, technological, and political dynamics. Covid-19 misinformation is only the latest expression of new and enduring myths and conspiracies that are (re)framed to fit current contexts.

In clinical settings, providers have been forced to grapple with this challenge. Yet, addressing misinformation in person with patients has been largely left out of medical education and training.

This toolkit aims to help fill that gap. Designed for providers across the spectrum of care, MisinfoRx offers an overview of the mechanics of medical misinformation and dives deep into the factors that make individuals susceptible to its impacts. Grounded in the science of misinformation, the toolkit then provides strategies for addressing patient-held misinformation in clinical settings. In our “Three C” approach, providers are encouraged to practice empathy, employ curiosity, and acknowledge resource constraints through compassionate conversations oriented towards patient-provider relationships built on trust and supporting the health and wellbeing of patients.

Our Team

Asha Shajahan, MD, MHSA

Dr. Shajahan is dedicated to educating physicians on improving community health through the understanding of social determinants and cultural dexterity. Her passion for homeless and vulnerable populations led her to start a Street Medicine curriculum for the Beaumont family medicine residences and to design the first elective available for all Beaumont residents in social equity focusing on unconscious bias, environmental health, minority health, drug addiction, refugee health, and human trafficking.

Irene Pasquetto, Ph.D.

Irene Pasquetto is a scholar in the field of information and communication science. She holds a position as Assistant Professor at the University of Michigan School of Information where she teaches “Ethics of Information Technologies” and “Digital Curation.” Her most recent research work focuses on issues of science mis- and disinformation, open science practices, and public understanding and use/misuse of science products and infrastructures. From 2018 to 2020, she was a postdoctoral fellow at the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics, and Public Policy, at the Harvard Kennedy School. At the Kennedy School, Irene co-founded and chief-edited the Harvard Kennedy School Misinformation Review. Irene earned a Ph.D. in Information Studies from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), where she also worked as a research assistant at the UCLA Center for Knowledge Infrastructures (CKI) and the UCLA Institute for Society and Genetics. Previously, Irene earned a master’s and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Verona (Italy).

Daisy Winner

Daisy Winner is a Program Manager in the Brown University School of Public Health Dean’s Incubator, where she focuses on vaccine equity, health misinformation, and health disparities. In this role, Daisy aims to bring together research, activism, and storytelling to build and strengthen health equity. Prior to Brown, she worked at the Harvard Global Health Institute, where she focused on health misinformation, pandemics, and racial disparities in health and with Seed Global Health where she oversaw a portfolio of projects focused on strengthening medical and nursing education in several sub-Saharan African countries. She holds a BA in Psychology and Global Health from Lesley University. 

Luke Testa

Luke Testa coordinates the Harvard Global Health Institute’s medical misinformation programmatic domain, in addition to supporting HGHI’s work at the intersections of climate change, equity, immunization, and social determinants of health. Luke’s interests lie in the development of creative, evidence-based interventions for combatting medical misinformation and promoting health equity. Prior to joining HGHI, Luke held several positions aimed at increasing access to health-promotive resources. Between 2013 and 2017, Luke co-founded and managed the nonprofit Project PLAY NH, which sought to increase youth access to organized sports in Manchester, NH. In 2017 and 2018, he served as the Director of Program for HOBY NH. From 2015-2018, Luke held several positions at the Sununu Youth Services Center (SYSC), where he researched, developed, and managed programs that aimed to lower the youth recidivism rate. Luke has also served in roles at the City of Manchester Office of Youth Services Advisory Board, NH Women’s Foundation, and at the NH Institute of Politics.

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