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U.S.-Serbia university partnership to address ‘infodemic’ harm
Media Contact
Amy Rowland, MSc.
Communication Director
Group photo in front of building

WHO technical consultation convened leaders from six regions across academia, public health and health authorities to advance a global curriculum for infodemic management. Emory University participants were Amy Rowland, communication director at Emory Global Health Institute, and Claire Jennings, associate director of learning programs at The Task Force for Global Health.

— WHO/Damir Begovic/Belgrade/March 2023

The U.S. Department of State has selected a project between the Emory Global Health Institute and the University of Belgrade Faculty of Medicine — “Infodemic management: Multidisciplinary scholarship and research to strengthen health security” — that will build knowledge and increase tools in both institutions to address infodemic harm, including mis- and disinformation.

“Institutions of higher learning play a pivotal role in accelerating infodemic management education and research to create an informed, proactive health care workforce and resilient health systems to strengthen and maintain societal trust in science and public health programs,” says Rebecca Martin, vice president for global heath at Emory University. “This is critical for Emory University and University of Belgrade, institutions preparing the next generation of public health practitioners, while also supporting large health care systems that understand the needs of, and maintain trust with, the communities they serve.”

Combining academic and research excellence with innovation to achieve impact

As they work together, the partners will:

Rebecca Martin (left) and Stefan Mandić-Rajčević serve as principal investigators on the University Partnership Program grant awarded to Emory by the U.S. Department of State.

  • Advance infodemic management in higher education by creating an elective infodemic management course tailored to Faculty of Medicine and other biomedical/health field students, pilot the course and submit for approval as an elective course for the following academic year
  • Unite learners and leaders across disciplines to build organizational capacity in infodemic management by mapping and making recommendations for educational integration opportunities within existing curricula across both universities and within higher education generally
  • Share lessons learned from the program to strengthen connections between faculty, researchers and public health practitioners in Serbia and the U.S.

“We are excited to teach practical skills that we acquired early during the pandemic, such as generating infodemic insights and recommendations and synthesizing these data with other traditional public health data sets to improve emergency preparedness and response,” says Stefan Mandić-Rajčević, coordinator of the Laboratory for Infodemiology and Infodemic Management founded in 2022 within the Faculty of Medicine, University of Belgrade. Since 2021, his team has worked to build cross-disciplinary, multisector capacity within Serbia to detect and mitigate infodemic harm.

Infodemic recognized as barrier and threat to national and global health security

While infodemics are not new, an increase in the volume, velocity and virality of health information create an imperative for health authorities to build a trusted health information ecosystem and capacity to monitor emerging narratives that can harm health and health care delivery.

In addition to teaching competencies to monitor, detect and mitigate infodemic-related harm to public health, the Emory/Belgrade partnership will explore the impact of the information environment and the infodemic, including mis- and disinformation on declining childhood immunization coverage in Serbia, a challenge faced globally as many countries work to regain progress after setbacks during the COVID-19 pandemic.

About the partners

Emory Global Health Institute (EGHI)

EGHI works at the intersection of education, research and practice to achieve global health impact. Since its founding in 2006, EGHI has helped address some of the world’s most critical global health challenges by fostering equitable partnerships, supporting Emory faculty and their research, and training the next generation of global health leaders. The resulting growth in global health knowledge and capacity contributes to healthier, more resilient communities and provides new tools to combat emerging threats at home and abroad.

For more information, contact Amy Rowland, MSc, EGHI communication director and UPP project director at or +1-404-457-7800.

University of Belgrade - Faculty of Medicine (UBFM)

UBFM is among the oldest and largest medical schools in the Balkans and is part of the University of Belgrade, which was founded in 1808 and is currently ranked first in Serbia and among the best 400 universities globally. UBFM is the national leader in providing educational and research activities and various health services. Together with the University of Belgrade, we are devoted to studying, education, progress and prosperity, to set the strongest standards in higher education, to cherish and encourage intellectual and personal growth and to stimulate meaningful work and effort which serve to the well-being of the entire society.

For more information, contact Aleksandar Stevanović, MD, UBFM teaching assistant, at or +381-11-36-36-300. 

U.S. Embassy Belgrade

This project is supported by the U.S. Embassy Belgrade. The opinions and conclusions expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Government.

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