Dr. Gollust discussed what is known about public perceptions of the opioid crisis and particularly what policy solutions Americans find acceptable. She also discussed the roles of the media in reinforcing certain policy narratives and the important role of stigmatizing attitudes toward opioid users in beliefs about the crisis and in considerations of its future trajectory.
Sarah Gollust, PhD | Public health research identifies numerous potential opportunities to improve population health. Yet when it comes to translating this research into policies and programs to improve public health, roadblocks emerge. Prof. Gollust's work looks to examine processes through which health information gets translated into the media, shapes public attitudes and opinions, and influences the health policy process. By describing the political, social, ethical, and psychological factors that moderate this process – and often pose as barriers – her research yields insight into how communication to the public and policymakers can be more effective. She has applied this research approach to several important public health challenges, including policies to address obesity, health disparities, the Affordable Care Act, and cancer screening and prevention.