Document Type

Senior Honors Project

Publication Date



A lack of access to effective health communication can be a threat to people’s health, especially during a pandemic. Effective health communication, as described by the World Health Organization’s Principles of Effective Health Communication, must be accessible, actionable, relevant, timely, and understandable (WHO, 2020). During the Coronavirus 2019 pandemic (COVID-19), accessing effective health messages on time has been of the utmost importance to ensure that people know how to protect themselves and others. As information regarding the new findings is updated each day on the Minnesota Department of Health website, everyone must be informed about those changes. However, for the refugee and immigrant population living in Minnesota, who do not speak English as their first language, there are many barriers related to language, health literacy levels, as well as the cultural competency of the people creating the messages. Ensuring that these populations are informed about the latest news related to the pandemic is essential.

Using in-depth interviews of public health professionals who are creating the messages for the immigrant and refugee population as well as surveys of immigrant and refugee students who receive these messages, this project will attempt to answer the following questions to highlight the importance of effective health communication: Who is creating public health messages for the immigrant and refugee populations in Minnesota? Are these messages relevant and understandable? How are these populations accessing effective messages regarding the pandemic? Is there any misinformation of health messages in these communities? Who and what is the source of misinformation? Finally, how can we ensure that this important segment of our Minnesotan population continues to receive effective health information even after the pandemic?


Honors Program