The 3rd WHO infodemic manager training wrapped up last week, with 249 trainees finishing an intensive month of lessons, learning and collaboration. The training was co-hosted by the US CDC and supported by UNICEF and RCCE collective service. Trainees came from 82 countries representing all 6 WHO regions.
The training is an ongoing response to the impact of the infodemic and the need for greater capacity in the global workforce. It provides an overview of infodemic management skills and was designed to fulfill the needs of future infodemic managers, as well as those who manage infodemic teams.
It emphasized the skills and knowledge described in the newly published competency framework for workforce response to infodemic management. Trainees learnt about emerging topics in infodemic management, strategy development and policy implications.
Through case-studies from the field, the training encompassed global and region-specific topics in the infodemic and health misinformation. The training program has been refined at each iteration, and as well as the 24 hours of live lectures and workshops, trainees experienced a simulation exercise, managing an emerging infodemic in the fictional Kingdom of Great Wishdom.
Mirroring real life, trainees had to negotiate news drops, misinformation memes going viral, competing priorities from government and industry, and new epidemiological reports, all while working with colleagues across multiple time-zones.
The trainees worked in teams to decide priorities and actions and to produce a pitch to the Wishdom Minister of Health as a final assignment. The training is an intensive introduction to infodemic management, but with a lot of fun and collaboration opportunities built in.
Leonor Bacelar Nicolau, of ULisboa, Portugal said: “I can’t believe this wonderful training is finally over! Four weeks of mind blowing information and hard work. So much hard work, but it’s totally worth it.”
Reflecting on the training and how she would use her new skills, Feili Tu-Keefner, Associate Professor at University of South Carolina said, “I feel so grateful for being a trainee. It’s such a humbling experience, and I asked myself to learn as much as I can from every instructor, presenter, and trainee. Our world needs more infodemic managers. As an educator, I plan to use what I learned to work with colleagues to develop training programs and a research institute on infodemiology.”
Trainees from previous trainings were involved as mentors. A total of 36 simulation exercise mentors, all previous graduates of the WHO infodemic manager training, provided mentorship and coaching of the Wishdom working groups.
Chinyere Nwonye, C4D Consultant, UNICEF said: “As a mentor/coach, I had a life-changing opportunity to not only share but learn. I found the men and women in this cohort eager to learn and committed. I am honored to be a part of this exciting community we are building.”
To celebrate the end of the training, WHO and the US CDC hosted a mass party of infodemic manager trainees, bringing together participants from all 3 WHO infodemic manager trainings held since November 2020, which as of December 2021 number over 750 people across 132 countries.
As well as some fun collaborative activities, the gathering provided space for information sharing, reflection and future planning.
There are more opportunities planned to continue to solidify the growing infodemic manager community of practice, and to provide more opportunities for collaboration, mentoring and community-led support.
Future trainings are planned for 2022 and will be promoted through the infodemic management news flash.
- Read more about the training here
- Access the training materials and presentations here
- Sign up to the infodemic management news flash here