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 Content Editor ‭[3]‬


Contact Us:

Richard Canady, PhD, DABT
Director, RSIA

Ph: +1-202-659-0074
Fax: +1-202-659-3859

ILSI Research Foundation
1156 15th Street, NW
Suite 200
Washington, DC 20005


Risk of Risk Perception





A high-level expert workshop early in 2011 brought leading journalists, economists, risk perception, and risk policy experts from across government, academia, civil society organizations, and leading industry to frame the issues.  There was resounding agreement that we should examine whether we can avoid unintended harm of perceptions that cause individuals to avoid all vaccines from a story about autism risk, or all fish from a government advisory that some fish have mercury, or delay to any adoption of a new beneficial technology because of some risks of the application of the technology.  


This project seeks to develop methods to measure and approaches to prevent harm caused by risk perceptions using approaches drawn from standard risk analysis, epidemiology, and behavioral economics.  The impact of risk messages is likely to grow with increasing access to information and changes to who is trusted.  Health impacts of perceptions have been estimated in selected cases.  The possibility of harm in unexamined cases could be large.  Awareness of the possibility of harm will help keep debate focused on improving overall health.   












ILSI RSIA is pleased to have provided a grant to Harvard School of Public
Health for the following event:

Risk, Perception, and Response Conference
March 20-21, 2014
Harvard School of Public Health
Boston, Massachusetts

Abstracts Due: June 10, 2013
Registration Opens: December 2013

This event is sponsored by ILSI RSIA and the Society for Risk Analysis.










  • Develop methods and practice to assess the risk of adverse health effects caused by responses to perceptions of risk. 
  • Promote use of the methods to improve public health.
  • Reduce unsupported statements of risk by calling for a “do no harm” approach to discussion of uncertain health risks.



Further details on the project workplan are available here​.


To Date



  • 2011 Workshop in Washington, DC 
  • 2012 Workshop in Phoenix, AZ
  • 2013/14 Grant to Harvard School of Public Health for call for papers and conference

Next Phase



  • Multidisciplinary expert steering committee
  • Case evaluations
  • Methods development
  • Cross-discipline outreach and integration​







  • Analytic methods to quantify health effects from risk perception “events”
  • Case examples of evaluation and management of health effects caused by risk perceptions
  • Workshops to develop expertise in and webinars to raise general awareness of the approach to improve health