Communicating Data Effectively (Open Educational Resource)

This course has ended.


This course builds on the basic concepts of communication, outlined briefly in the SUR1: Introduction to Surveillance course. Learning materials focus on the central elements of communication, the ethical principles and approaches in relation to it and offer suggestions for communicating surveillance data effectively – one of the essential steps of the surveillance cycle. Learners will explore a range of communication strategies and ways of working that will ensure your data triggers appropriate action and impact.


Upon completion of this course, learners will be able to:

  1. Identify the central elements of communication and their use in public health; 
  2. Understand the important considerations when communicating risk to the public;
  3. Identify an ethical approach to the release or communication of sensitive health data;
  4. Identify key factors for communicating public health data in a manner that will be understood by the audience; 
  5. Describe the general components of a scientific article or report;
  6. Discuss the role of a health professional when working with mass media;
  7. Identify main considerations for writing press releases;
  8. Choose appropriate uses for figures when presenting public health related data;
  9. Analyze the need for using a table as a preferred figure when presenting public health data;
  10. Understand appropriate uses for graphs when presenting public health data;
  11. Identify when appropriate to use maps for presenting public health data.


  • Lesson 1: Overview of Communication
  • Lesson 2: Communicating Health Data Clearly
  • Lesson 3: Introduction to Data Presentation - Scientific Articles and Reports
  • Lesson 4: Introduction to Data Presentation - Using Figures
  • Lesson 5: Guidelines for Tables as Figures
  • Lesson 6: Guidelines for Graphs and Maps as Figures


Public health practitioners in the English-speaking Caribbean, including public health nurses, environmental public health professionals, health promoters, program managers, dental health practitioners, dietitians, policy analysts, public health veterinarians and other public health practitioners.


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Last update: 07/May/2024