September 28, 2021

National Academy of Medicine Launches Initiative Supported by YouTube on Evaluating the Authoritativeness of Online Providers of Health Information

From the National Academies:

In order to enhance the accessibility of trustworthy health information on its platform, YouTube asked the National Academy of Medicine (NAM) to identify preliminary definitions of “authoritative” sources of health information and the criteria by which these sources derive and maintain their authority.  The NAM will also outline ethical and public health considerations for large-scale content identification strategies.

An advisory group, chaired by Raynard Kington, former deputy director of the National Institutes of Health and current head of school at Phillips Academy in Andover, will gather information and deliberate in order to author a peer-reviewed discussion paper for publication in NAM Perspectives this summer.  Outcomes from this effort will help inform some of the ways in which YouTube identifies and raises trustworthy health information to users.

“It is more important than ever that people have access to objective, evidence-based information so that they can make healthy decisions for themselves, their families, and their communities during the most challenging public health crisis of our lifetime,” said NAM President Victor J. Dzau.  “We look forward to working with YouTube on this important task, which is just a starting point to helping ensure that trustworthy health information is more broadly accessible and actionable.”

NAM will host a public webinar to gather information on Monday, April 5, from 1 to 2:30 p.m. EDT. The webinar will include remarks from a YouTube representative, as well as expert presentations on the challenges of communicating scientific information online and variations in perception of authority and trustworthiness across groups.

  • A discussion document containing preliminary principles and questions will be posted on the project webpage for a public comment period from April 5 – April 9.  Interested parties — including online providers of health information and members of the public — will have the opportunity to share feedback with the advisory group.

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.

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