In spring 2020, a group of interdisciplinary researchers, outreach specialists, and practitioners came together with the goal of encouraging Wisconsin residents to adhere to physical or social distancing guidelines using evidence-based public health recommendations and communication and behavior change best-practices. The convening was a joint effort of the UniverCity Alliance, the Wisconsin League of Municipalities, the Morgridge Center for Public Service, and the Global Health Institute. Through a call to community leaders, students, and scholars an interdisciplinary team came together to tackle this complex challenge.
Key activities included:
● To discover “what works” to foster compliance with life-saving recommendations through a rapid approach to communications and behavioral research.
● To gather and develop persuasive, effective, targeted messages which convey accurate recommendations related to physical distancing and related behaviors.
● To distribute messages through appropriate channels, emphasizing social media, but also developing other kinds of educational tools where appropriate.
● To use a rapid research to practice approach that includes iterative real time learning among researchers, communicators and community leaders.