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Risk Communication in Deployment-Related Exposure Concerns

Santos, Susan L. PhD, MS; Helmer, Drew MD, MS; Teichman, Ron MD, MPH, FACP, FACOEM

Section Editor(s): Teichman, Ron MD, MPH; Guest Editor

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: June 2012 - Volume 54 - Issue 6 - p 752–759
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e31824fe11e
Original Articles

Objective: Veterans Affairs and Department of Defense health care providers and educators serve as primary channels of communication with veterans but may not understand the importance and benefits of risk communication to inform and empower veterans about actions to take or not take to improve the quality of their health. This article describes the importance of understanding and applying risk communication principles in communicating to veterans about the potential for health concerns/impacts from deployment-related exposures.

Results: The principles of risk communication as relevant to clinical encounters are presented, focusing on a review of risk perception factors influencing deployment-related exposure concerns. Results show that risk communication can impact how veterans will take in and process information about deployment-related exposures.

Conclusion: This article illustrates how providers can effectively use risk communication to structure better clinical encounters and communication with veterans.

From the VA War Related Illness and Injury Study Center (Drs Santos, Helmer, and Teichman), East Orange, NJ; University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, School of Public Health (Dr Santos), Piscataway, NJ; Baylor College of Medicine (Dr Helmer), Houston, Tex; and Teichman Occupational Health Associates (Dr Teichman), West Orange, NJ.

Address correspondence to: Susan L. Santos, PhD, MS, 29 Welgate Road, Medford, MA 02155 mail to:

Author Santos and coauthors have no relationships/conditions/circumstances that present potential conflict of interest.

The JOEM Editorial Board and planners have no financial interest related to this research.

©2012The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine