HCIRB Research Priority: Health and Science Misinformation

Health and Science Misinformation

The substantial amounts of inaccurate or false health information circulating onlinecoupled with social polarization and low levels of public trust in scientific institutionspose a significant challenge for health communication practice. In response to these trends and developments, HCIRB has been leading several initiatives to better understand and address online misinformation and its consequences for health. The goal is to better understand the current information environment and inform effective approaches for responding to misinformation and mitigating its impact.

These initiatives continue to advance scientific knowledge regarding several key research questions, including:

  • What is the prevalence of cancer-related misinformation on social media platforms?
  • What are the real-world consequences of exposure to health misinformation?
  • Which populations are most vulnerable to online misinformation? What demographic and psychosocial factors predict misinformation endorsement and sharing?
  • How do individuals process and assess information quality and source credibility when interacting with social media content? What factors are most salient in determining information trustworthiness?
  • What are the most effective ways to meet people's information needs, address misinformation, and foster health and science literacy?

Funding Opportunities

Title Announcement # Expiration Date Contact
Innovative Approaches to Studying Cancer Communication in the New Information Ecosystem

PAR 22-164 (R01 Clinical Trial Optional)

PAR 22-165 (R21 Clinical Trial Optional)

September 08, 2025

Kelly Blake



AJPH special issue about health misinformation on social media

The NCI partnered with the American Journal of Public Health (AJPH) to publish a special issue highlighting cutting-edge research that addresses critical issues surrounding health misinformation on social media. Published on October 1, 2020, the special issue showcases diverse approaches to a rapidly expanding research area and addresses topics such as vaccine misinformation, unproven cancer treatments, and rumors about emerging infectious diseases. The issue also highlights the role of healthcare providers in addressing health misinformation and important ethical considerations for health promotion efforts on social media.


Mitigating Health and Science Misinformation: A Scoping Review

In 2022, HCIRB undertook a scoping review to synthesize the published literature regarding misinformation mitigation interventions, with the goal of characterizing and evaluating various misinformation mitigation strategies that have been tested and identifying research gaps and opportunities for future study. The review included English-language articles published between January 2017 and July 2022 that a) focused on health- or science-related misinformation, b) tested a misinformation mitigation strategy or intervention (e.g., prebunking), and c) measured misinformation-related outcomes or effects. Studies that met the inclusion criteria were coded for sample characteristics, health/science topic, type of mitigation strategy, research methods, outcome measures, and intervention efficacy.

Relevant Publications

Last Updated
December 21, 2023