Good communication is fundamental in the promotion and maintenance of individual and collective health. Despite the vast amount of information we can currently access, misconceptions still persist in fundamental topics such as vaccination or the prevention and treatment of certain serious or chronic diseases such as cancer or AIDS. People have to make decisions concerning their health, and must be informed rigorously and sincerely to that end. However, this task is not simple. It is essential to understand how the different communicative processes work and reflect on the role of the media in this field.
This monograph emerged from the seminar on communication and health that Mètode organised with the Menéndez Pelayo International University in October 2015 in Valencia. The issue tries to convey the plurality of perspectives present in the seminar. Health communication research – but also specialised journalism – helps us to reflect about what health communication is, what it should become and, especially, what can be done to advance it.
The research project “The language and culture of health” (CS02014-61928-EXP), which provided the basis for this monograph in Mètode SSJ, gathers 10 researchers from different Spanish universities (Jaume I University, University of Valencia, University of Alacant, University of Almería and University of Valladolid) working on discursive and communicative aspects of medical practice.