Practitioners of risk, high-concern, and crisis communication received a wealth of insight when Dr. Randall Hyer (VP, Global Medical Affairs, Moderna) and Dr. Vincent Covello (founder and director of the Center for Risk Communication) joined Dr. Dipti Itchhaporia (president of the American College of Cardiology) on “Coffee with ACC President” on November 13, 2021

During this video presentation the trio discussed communication, change, and adaptation during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Click here to view Coffee with ACC President.

Drs. Covello and Hyer laid out best practices and elaborated on the following:

  • Tools for communicating with patients during the pandemic
  • Changes leading to rise in stress levels
  • Loss of trust in expertise
  • Changes in how people get information
  • Changes in knowledge about how best to communicate in high-stress situations
  • Vaccine hesitancy
  • Dealing with fear and establishing trust
  • Empathy
  • Message maps (with examples at the 23:50 mark)
  • Decision-making in high-stress situations

The session also included a role play of a model discussion about vaccines.

Before the session concluded, participants were given the opportunity to pose questions, including the following:

  • How do you deal with trolls and negatives responses on social media?
  • How do leaders respond when the answer is “I don’t know”? How do they recover when they’ve said something that turns out to be untrue?
  • How do physicians and other practitioners handle stress and their own fears?
  • How do you best communicate on social media?


Pathway Prompt: Has your approach to risk communication changed during the pandemic? If so, how?


Communicating Effectively When Feelings, Fears, and Facts Collide

More information about risk, high-concern, and crisis communication can be found in Dr. Covello’s video-based course Pathway to Risk, High-Concern, and Crisis Communication.

This master class introduces communicators to the tools and techniques for communicating effectively—while providing greater insight into why audiences react the way they do during times of stress.

The course comprises nine video lectures and accompanying text modules, plus supplemental materials for putting valuable lessons into practice. More information about the course, including group rates and partnering opportunities, can be found by emailing

Dr. Vincent Covello

Dr. Vincent Covello, director of the Center for Risk Communication, is one of the world’s leading experts and practitioners on risk, high-concern, and crisis communication. He is the author of more than 150 articles in scientific journals and the author/editor of more than 20 books.

The American College of Cardiology

The American College of Cardiology envisions a world where innovation and knowledge optimize cardiovascular care and outcomes. As the professional home for the entire cardiovascular care team, the mission of the College and its 54,000 members is to transform cardiovascular care and to improve heart health.