Belmont University Research Symposium (BURS)

Addressing the Influence of Medical Populism and Public Health in Davidson County, Tennessee

Publication Date

Spring 2021


Health Sciences & Nursing, Gordon E. Inman College of


Public Health, Department of

BURS Faculty Advisor

Dr. Christian Williams

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation


The COVID-19 pandemic has shown just how important the relationship between political behavior and health communication is, particularly in a crisis. Medical populism is a phenomenon marked by the intersection between anti-elitism, distrust in systems, and distrust in medicine, very particularly public health. Medical populism is decreasing the ability of public health to function due to its multi-faceted influence on public health communication and trust in professionals. This is influenced by the attachment to fear politics and influences power in liberal democracies. As this problem continues to rise, solutions must be addressed to reduce its harm to public health. This program looks to explain the importance of recognizing the influence of medical populism, a plan to approach it on a local level by utilizing health communication and community engagement practices. This plan includes evaluating the effectiveness of such intervention involving community stakeholders in the political, media, medical sectors, and the general population.

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