Why Upstream?

up·stream (ŭp’strēm’)
adj. Towards the source of a stream or river; against the normal direction of water flow.

Imagine walking along a riverbank with a friend. Suddenly, you notice someone drowning in the river, flailing his arms and screaming for help as he is swept downstream.

You jump into the river to pull him to safety, but as soon as you reach the shore, you see someone else in the river, screaming for help. This happens again and again.

Exhausted, you shout for your friend to help you. Instead of jumping into the river, your friend begins running up the river bank. When you ask her what she is doing, she replies, “I’m going upstream to find out why these people are falling in, and to keep them safe on the riverbank!”

In health communication, we often feel like we’re moving against the current, fighting the flow of misinformation, myths, and other barriers to health and well-being.

To get to the source of any given health problem — whether the cause is environmental, socioeconomic, or behavioral — we must move upstream. And we need the insights and knowledge of many disciplines to do this, including public health, psychology, information science, and communication.

These are the issues that we wish to explore through this blog. We hope that you will join our conversation.