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Celebrity culture and healthcare – A conversation with Kim Kardashian

Written by

Carolyn Santillan

Just kidding…but you actually opened my post, and that’s the first step in getting your attention. Thank you Kim!

In healthcare communications, it can often be challenging to get the media to pay attention. Sharing information about clinical data or the approval of a new treatment doesn’t often make the news, but having a celebrity – actor, musician, athlete – or well-known influencer can spark many conversations. I raised this question with health science expert and author of Is Gwyneth Paltrow Wrong About Everything? When Celebrity Culture and Science Clash, Timothy Caulfield:

I believe it comes down to authenticity and a compelling story. If you partner with a well-known and respected person with a genuine connection to a health-related topic, it opens doors and gets people to pay attention. This spokesperson needs to share their story, not the science; that part should be left to a healthcare professional. We know celebrities exert influence, and based on Caulfield’s research, I’m realizing more than ever how powerful this influence can be.

As communicators and consultants, we need to work with clients to identify spokespeople who can credibly and authentically deliver their story, and with this comes responsibility.

Thanks @CaulfieldTim for your hilarious anecdotes, and importantly raising this topic that highlights the increasing need for health literacy in a celebrity and mass-media environment.

Stay tuned for:

How do you navigate health care information when celebrities are making statements based on assumption and biases and scientists/pharma experts are speaking in terms we don’t understand? It comes down to health literacy – and it’s a topic we’ll be exploring in May.

——— Written by Carolyn Santillan, former Director, NATIONAL Public Relations