The Internal Rhetorical Work of a Public Health Crisis Response
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This persuasion brief suggests that the rhetorical concepts of techne and rhetorical work facilitate the creation of public health crisis communication. To illustrate this claim, we present findings from a case study with the Johns Hopkins Medicine Ebola Crisis Communications Team, a transdisciplinary group that collaborated with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention during the 2014 Ebola crisis. The team created multimodal documentation to support healthcare providers as they prepared to treat patients and crafted communication to alleviate the fear among health workers and the public caused by the threat of Ebola. Ultimately, we frame public health crisis communication as a rhetorical endeavor guided by a focus on failure, situated expertise, and techne. This focus pushes specialists to tend to the processes involved in creating a response, and it highlights how gut feelings factor into the process of designing and implementing a public health crisis intervention.