Pilot Projects Include Narrating Climate Futures, Supporting Infodemics Managers and Building Hyperlocal Models for Health Communication

PROVIDENCE, RI — The Information Futures Lab at Brown University’s School of Public Health is welcoming leaders in journalism, health communications and information management to its inaugural class of Information Futures Fellows. The fellows will join the Lab in January 2023 to develop climate futures frameworks, address misinformation on a popular community app, build new models for hyperlocal health communications, and more.

“The IFL fellows are creative problem-solvers who are responding to urgent information challenges in real time”, said Claire Wardle, co-director of the Information Futures Lab and Professor of the Practice at the Brown School of Public Health. “They are part of a growing number of innovators around the world who from their diverse vantage points are boldly creating new approaches to addressing the information crisis.”

The new cohort will join a group of visiting fellows who started rapid pilots at the Lab in the fall semester. Home institutions for both groups of fellows include Vice World News, Politico, UNICEF, the WNC Health Network, and the Roots Community Health Center in Oakland. Fellows’ projects will be piloted in the U.S., Thailand, Nigeria, the U.K. and with an international network of Infodemics managers.

“The key to the IFL fellowships is that we support fellows and solutions that come from within a community or information ecosystem. Our fellows bring an essential combination of deep professional expertise and lived experiences in affected communities to their projects”, said Stefanie Friedhoff, co-director of the Information Futures Lab and Professor of the Practice at the Brown School of Public Health. “We are thrilled to work with these trailblazers, provide access to additional knowledge, tools and evaluation supports, and learn from them and their pilots.”

IFL fellows will focus the majority of their time on their projects, while participating in weekly virtual meetups and two weeklong in-person IFL academies on the Brown University campus, where they will have the opportunity to interact with students and faculty.

“The fellowship allows me to center often-neglected civil society perspectives regarding the air pollution crisis in Thailand,” said Kelly Perry, a 2023 Futures Fellow. “Using climate modeling and futures methods, I aim to bridge model projections with citizen science to address the misinformation gap pertaining to causes of air pollution in the country. Clean air is a human right, and I am grateful to the Brown IFL fellowship for providing me with the resources to ensure we are one step closer to its actualization.”

“There is a consequential gap between research and practice when it comes to identifying effective, scalable solutions to our information crisis”, said Megan Ranney, deputy dean of the Brown School of Public Health. “We are thrilled to become a partner to those on the front lines through this fellowship program and other work underway at the Information Futures Lab.”

The selection committee for the inaugural class of IFL fellows was chaired by IFL co-director Claire Wardle and included Partners in Health’s Max Clermont, Chris Beall of the Centre for International Governance Innovation, and Brown SPH Assistant Dean of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Jai-Me Potter-Rutledge.

The 2023 Information Futures Fellows are:

ADRIENNE AMMERMAN, Asheville, NC, is a communications specialist at the WNC Health Network developing a prototype design for a health communications platform that will support local, regional, and state health communicators in delivering evidence-based health information to their communities.

CHRIS CHUKWUNYERE, Abuja, Nigeria, is a public health specialist at Inspire World International Foundation working on a pilot to engage young people using culturally appropriate innovative approaches at community level, digital and traditional media, and web-based application to improve health literacy, debunk COVID-19 myths and misconceptions and encourage vaccine uptake. This project plans to reach 5,000 people in-person and 100,000 people online across 6 states in Nigeria.

SOPHIA SMITH GALER, London, UK, is a senior news reporter at VICE World News working and is also a long-time content creator who looks to bring content creators and influencers into secondary schools in the UK to deliver digital literacy lessons and engage with students in conversations about the realities of creating content as a source of income.

KELLY PERRY, Chiang Mai, Thailand, is a senior technical officer at FHI 360 working with scientists and civil society to climate futures scenarios to raise awareness around the causes of air pollution in Thailand and shape policy advocacy to build support for change toward cleaner air.

LAM THUY VO, Brooklyn, NY, is a data journalism instructor at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY working to scale a local community-based intervention to combat crime misinformation spread on the app Neighbors, the social media app for users of Ring video doorbells.

Information Futures Lab 2022-23 Visiting Fellows are:

KELSEY SCOTT, Oakland, CA, is a public health communicator with the Roots Community Health Center working to restore trust in health organizations and counter misinformation by developing a program that aims to answer community members’ health questions – raised in emails, on various social media or in person – in ways that respond to people’s education level, language, cultural customs and information needs.

MARK SCOTT, London, UK, chief technology correspondent for POLITICO is documenting how journalists and public health professionals track information trends online, and researching best practices for social media transparency and accountability.

ELISABETH WILHELM, Atlanta, GA is a social scientist on UNICEF’s Immunization Demand Team using a storytelling-based participatory research method to analyze the experiences of people who address health misinformation in the time of Covid-19, and understand how to better support infodemic managers around the world.

About the Information Futures Lab

The Information Futures Lab, launched in June 2022, works to meet the urgent need to address the information crisis threatening to undo major achievements in public health and erode the foundations of democracies. The Lab drives collaborative research to make emerging evidence accessible and drives innovative programs to empower practitioners in designing, piloting, and evaluating creative solutions.

More information about the Information Futures Lab and the Fellowship, including how to apply for a 2024 IFL Fellowship, can be found here.


Leneli Liggayu, Program Manager