Bournemouth University is to host Professor Sir Jonathan Van Tam for a one-off public conversation on the subject of health communication and the Covid-19 pandemic.
Sir Jonathan Van-Tam, currently serving as Pro Vice-Chancellor for Medicine and Health Sciences at the University of Nottingham, became a household name through his seconded role as Deputy Chief Medical Officer during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Throughout the crisis, he regularly appeared in the public and press briefings from 10 Downing Street, giving updates to the public on the latest position with the virus. In these televised appearances, Sir Jonathan Van-Tam was known for his clear and down-to-earth but no-nonsense communication of difficult subjects, from strains of the virus to the rollout of the vaccine programme. His services to public health were recognised with a knighthood in 2022.
The public conversation will be hosted by BU’s Centre for Science, Health and Data Communication Research. Sir Jonathan Van-Tam will be sharing his experiences in combining science and leadership through this historic pandemic, as well as reflecting on the importance of good health and science communication.
Professor An Nguyen leads the Centre alongside his role as Professor of Journalism at BU. He said, “Effective communication of complex science and health matters was the key to getting society on-board during the Covid-19 pandemic, especially in the midst of so much uncertainty, competing perspectives, and the misinformation chaos of those days.
“Sir Jonathan Van-Tam emerged as an unlikely star in that context, gathering a huge fanbase, not only with his scientific integrity but also his colourful, metaphoric science communication style that speaks directly to people. We are extremely delighted to be able to open this event to the research community, health professionals, science communicators, the media and the general public.”
The event takes place on Wednesday 12 April from 10am in Kimmeridge House on Bournemouth University’s Talbot Campus, is free and open to all members of the public.