Stanford Health Communication Director Dr. Seema Yasmin Appointed to National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine Committee

Seema Yasmin

The committee Addressing Inaccurate and Misleading Information about Biological Threats through Scientific Collaboration and Communication will evaluate methods for engaging global scientists in assessing false information about biological threats.

Director of the Stanford Health Communication Initiative and clinical assistant professor of medicine in the Division of Primary Care and Population Health, Dr. Seema Yasmin, has been appointed to a new committee convened by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM). The NASEM committee brings together preeminent scientists and scholars from around the world to analyze evidence-based methods for the scientific evaluation and mitigation of inaccurate claims about biological threats.

Scientific misinformation and disinformation have spread for decades, seeding distrust in vaccines and the medical establishment. Viral conspiracy theories and hoaxes related to the Covid-19 pandemic have made it more challenging to curb transmission, build trust with the public, and institute robust public health interventions.

Dr. Yasmin is uniquely qualified to offer expertise on the spread of health-related misinformation and disinformation. She trained in medicine at the University of Cambridge and in medical journalism at the University of Toronto. An Emmy Award-winning journalist and Pulitzer Prize finalist, she served as an officer in the Epidemic Intelligence Service at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention where she investigated outbreaks in maximum-security prisons, border towns, hospitals and other settings.

At the Stanford Health Communication Initiative, Yasmin’s scholarly work tracks the spread of information deserts and establishes health information inequity as a social determinant of health. SHCI trains healthcare professionals in the use of evidence-based methods for effective communication of scientific and health-related topics.

Dr. Yasmin is a 2020 Emerson Collective Fellow, a recipient of two awards from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, and her combined expertise in epidemiology and communications has been called upon by the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues. Her writing appears in the New York Times, WIRED, Scientific American, Rolling Stone, and other outlets. She is the author of four books including Viral BS: Medical Myths and Why We Fall for Them.