Crisis Communication: Marsha Vanderford


Guest Speaker Dr. Marsha Vanderford paid a visit to Indiana State University, where she spoke about her career at CDC and brought forward a few case studies over crisis communication.

Dr. Vanderford brought up a case study involving the anthrax attack 9/18/2001, just 7 days after 9/11. Medication was to be issued and the postal workers were to be distributed prophylaxis after handling anthrax. This went out ASAP as CDC was worried for the health workers and stockpiled on the drugs. Other public offered a different type of medication and this caused a stir as they believed since they weren’t getting the drugs the postal workers are getting, that its considered inferior. At this point, CDC was exhausted and stressed from the anthrax situation and had to act quickly. They informed their public through social media that it was just as equal. This case study showed a good example of how an attack is handled by a company such as CDC.

Dr. Vanderford mentioned a few tips about acting within crisis communication. She pointed out that being concerning and respectful is the best approach to your public, especially after a frightening attack. Honesty, Trust and Power are main characteristics of all public relations to build better relationships within the public, because if you aren’t honest and reassuring then what good is that your public. Dr. Vanderford was very beneficial towards my knowledge of communicating quickly and how to approach it when no one has a clear mind set with tragedies occurring.

Photo credit: Flickr



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