Researchers Battle Misinformation @DearPandemic
In a time when COVID-19 misinformation clogs social media, it can be stressful to determine what’s accurate online.
Dr. Aparna Kumar, Jefferson’s psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner program director, along with an all-female team of researchers from other universities work to combat misinformation by simplifying difficult concepts and terminology.
They created “Dear Pandemic” on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter as a way to share reliable information to the masses. The popular project allows the public to ask the group—who call themselves the “Nerdy Girls”—questions about COVID-19, from “Can UV light kill coronavirus?” to “How to have safer sex during a pandemic” to “Is it safe to start seeing friends indoors?”
We believe we can continue to combat the infodemic head on.
Now that they have received funding from an anonymous investor and are applying for larger grants, they plan to expand their reach through the translation of current and future posts, education campaigns and increased promotion through other channels. They also hope to collaborate with invited “nerdy guests,” including vaccine experts, immunologists and international specialists.
As the pandemic continues, the nerdy girls remain committed to battling misinformation.
“We have such a loyal fan base, and we really try to lift other women up by elevating the voices of women scientists,” Dr. Kumar says. “By doing so, we believe we can continue to combat the infodemic head on.”