Ethos Prototypes: The Intersection of Rhetoric, Cognition, and Communicating Health Policy Internationally

Date01 December 2019
Published date01 December 2019
AuthorKirk St.Amant
doi: 10.1002/wmh3.323
© 2019 Policy Studies Organization
Ethos Prototypes: The Intersection of Rhetoric, Cognition,
and Communicating Health Policy Internationally
Kirk St.Amant
Effective health and medical policy implementation in international contexts is a complex process.
Success often reflects effective communication practices. Credibility is often a key to
achieving such objectives. Cultures, however, can have differing credibility expectations that can affect
these communication and policy implementation processes. Individuals working in such contexts can
benefit from mechanisms that can facilitate credible communication in health and medical policy
contexts. This entry overviews one such mechanism, that of ethos prototypes.
KEY WORDS: culture, ethos, prototype
In global contexts, effective communication is essential to addressing public
health issues. For such dynamics to work, all parties need to quickly recognize key
policy documents and readily accept them as credible sources of information.
Individuals who craft policyrelated documents must, therefore, understand how
cultural factors can affect the international exchange of ideas. Approaches that assist
such practices can contribute to coordinating international policy efforts
relating to health and medicine. This entry presents one such approachthat of
ethos prototypesfor crafting policy documentation for international environments.
Of Credibility and Culture
Effective communication involves more than understanding. It also encompasses
acceptance and agreementboth of which connect to credibility. If I understand
your argument, but I do not consider it credible, I will not act on the information
youve provided. Likewise, my perception of your credibility also affects my
agreement to actor my accepting your information as valid and your proposed
course of action as worth undertaking. Such factors are important to crafting policy
documents audiences understand, accept, and agree to act on to achieve public
health objectives (e.g., contain a disease outbreak).

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