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Overview of Crisis & Emergency Risk Communication

The CERC training program educates and trains public information officers, public health responders, leaders, and others about the principles and application of crisis and emergency risk communication when responding to a public health emergency.

CERC draws from lessons learned during public health emergencies and research in the fields of health and emergency risk communication; it incorporates best practices from the fields of risk and crisis communication. With this comprehensive training program, CDC has moved forward in meeting the needs of partners and stakeholders in preparing for, responding to and recovering from the threat of bioterrorism, emergent diseases, and other hazards.

Crisis and emergency risk communication is an approach used by scientists and public health professionals to provide information that allows an individual, stakeholders or an entire community, to make the best possible decisions about their well-being, under nearly impossible time constraints, while accepting the imperfect nature of their choices.


  • Disseminate training curricula and tools that will help public health communication professionals effectively prepare for and respond to public health emergencies.
  • Introduce crisis and emergency risk training curricula and tools developed by CDC's Emergency Risk Communication Branch for public health officials, both inside and outside CDC.
  • Train communicators, both inside and outside CDC, to subsequently train public health professionals in how to systematically plan, develop, implement, and evaluate crisis and emergency risk communication activities.

CERC Curriculum

  • Introduction to CERC *
  • Psychology of a Crisis *
  • Messages and Audiences *
  • Crisis Communication Plans
  • The Spokesperson *
  • Working with the Media
  • Stakeholder and Partner Communication
  • Other Communication Channels
  • CERC, Social Media, & Mobile Devices
  • Terrorism and Bioterrorism Communication Challenges
  • Human Resources for CERC
  • Understanding Roles of Federal, State, & Local Community Health Partners
  • Media & Public Health Law

* Core Modules

Contact Us: - Prepare. Plan. Stay Informed. The U.S. Government's Official Web PortalDepartment of Health and Human Services
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention   1600 Clifton Rd. Atlanta, GA 30333, USA
800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636) TTY: (888) 232-6348 - Contact CDC-INFO

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