Health Misinformation Resources

health misinformation

In today's digital age, the spread of inaccurate and misleading information has become a significant challenge, impacting public health and individuals' well-being. This guide aims to provide libraries, medical professionals, and other information professionals with tools and knowledge to address health misinformation effectively.

Various factors contribute to the dissemination of health misinformation. Human cognitive biases, such as confirmation bias, often lead individuals to believe information that aligns with their existing beliefs, even if it lacks scientific evidence. Furthermore, the influence of the internet and social media algorithms can create echo chambers, reinforcing people's existing beliefs while shielding them from alternative perspectives.

Addressing health misinformation is crucial for ensuring that individuals have access to accurate and reliable information. Libraries, medical professionals, and information professionals play a pivotal role in this effort. By providing access to reliable sources of information and promoting health literacy, we can empower individuals to make informed decisions about their health and well-being.

Health misinformation has a long and complex history, and its impact has intensified with the advent of the internet and social media. However, we can counteract its harmful effects by working together and leveraging the available resources.  
We invite you to explore the guide and utilize its resources to address health misinformation in your professional endeavors. Together, let us take a proactive stance against misinformation and ensure that accurate and reliable health information reaches those who most need it.

This guide was last updated in February 2024 by Margie Sheppard R3, Carolyn Martin R5, and Bobbi Newman R6.

This collection of resources includes tutorial, presentations, and more you can use to help address health misinformation in your community. 

Evaluating Internet Health Information: A Tutorial From the National Library of Medicine - This tutorial teaches you how to evaluate the health information you find on the Internet.

Evaluating Health Information: MedlinePlus provides steps on how to tell the difference between good and bad health information.

Health Misinformation: The U.S. Surgeon General identifies Health Misinformation as one of the current priorities of the office.

Know the Science from the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health - On this page you'll find tools to help you better understand complex scientific topics that relate to health research so that you can be discerning about what you hear and read and make well-informed decisions about your health. Know the Science features a variety of materials including interactive modules, quizzes, and videos to provide engaging, straightforward content. Available in Spanish!

Library Toolkit for Addressing Health Misinformation - Guide from San Diego Circuit. Includes videos, printable resources in English, Spanish, Arabic, Chinese - simplified, Dari, Farsi, Korean, Somali, Tagalog, and Vietnamese, and more. 

Science, Health, and Public Trust - This section of the NIH web site is a place for discussion of ways to improve the quality and usefulness of information for the public about science and health. The overall goal is to share strategies and best practices that might contribute to public understanding of the nature of biomedical research and its role in health.

Six Tips for Spotting Fake Health News - Research Professor Lisa Bero, PhD, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus offers tips on spotting fake health news and fraudulent studies.

Spotting Health Misinformation Online - AHIMA Foundation provides tips and information to help you spot and avoid health misinformation.

The Surgeon General’s Community Toolkit for Addressing Health Misinformation provides specific guidance and resources for health care providers, educators, librarians, faith leaders, and trusted community members to understand, identify, and stop the spread of health misinformation in their communities. Includes a report, toolkit, resources and more. Available in Spanish. 

Spanish version of the Community Toolkit: Herramientas comunitarias para abordar la desinformación sobre la salud

The growing spread of rumors, misinformation and disinformation about science, medicine, and the FDA, is putting patients and consumers at risk. We’re here to provide the facts. 

10 reasons to use the U.S. Surgeon General’s Community Toolkit for Addressing Health Misinformation

Help Stop the Spread of Health Misinformation

How to Find Reliable Sources of Health Information

Protect Yourself From Health Misinformation

Check if Health-Related Content is Credible

NNLM is dedicated to combating health misinformation through various educational initiatives and events.

Logo for the NNLM Health Misinformation Webinar Series

Our Health Misinformation Webinar Series brings together expert guest speakers who delve into various aspects of health misinformation, disinformation, and malinformation. These webinars are designed for librarians, public health professionals, health educators, and healthcare providers, providing practical and evidence-based solutions to identify and counteract the spread of false information.

Join our 4-week, 8 CE class titled "Wikipedia + Libraries" to explore the value of Wikipedia as a reliable reference for health and medical topics. This self-paced online course comprises four modules with engaging activities like discussion forums, readings, and tutorials. Gain invaluable insights and skills to evaluate health-related Wikipedia articles for yourself and your patrons, contributing to improved health information quality on the platform.

94% of med students report using Wikipedia as a starting point for information. Help us improve health information on Wikipedia. Join the #citeNLM campaign as an individual or host an event at your institution. Get involved

We host the #CiteNLM Wikipedia Edit-a-thon twice a year, a collaborative effort to enhance credible, evidence-based health information online. By participating in this event, you can help disseminate NLM sources and expand their reach, leveraging the expertise and audiences of our NNLM members nationwide. Whether you join us virtually during the one-day edit-a-thons or organize an event at your institution, you'll significantly impact the fight against health misinformation.

We invite you to explore our various classes, webinars, and events to effectively equip yourself with the tools to combat health misinformation. Let's promote accurate health information and contribute to a healthier, more informed society.

We provide funding support for projects that address health misinformation in local communities. Below you will find resources from past funded projects.

If you're interested in applying for funding to address health misinformation, we encourage you to browse our current call for applications. Our regional offices and centers provide funding opportunities. To find out which regional office covers your state, please refer to our website.

Our dedicated staff members are available to assist you throughout the application process, and we also offer training sessions to enhance your grant application skills. Together, we can work towards creating a healthier and more informed society by tackling health misinformation at the community level.

Resources Developed as Part of a Previously Funded Projects

Library Toolkit for Addressing Health Misinformation

The NNLM Virtual Symposium on Health Misinformation took place April 4-6, 2023. Access the recordings on our YouTube channel

The 2023 NNLM Virtual Health Misinformation Symposium was designed to allow you explore both the research behind health mis/disinformation movements and provide practical and evidence-based solutions to support librarians, health educators, and direct care providers in combating the spread of health misinformation.

The event helped attendees:

  • Distinguish between the types of misinformation
  • Describe current research regarding health misinformation
  • Identify and implement resources and tools to combat health misinformation, resources, and tools
  • Explore programs, projects, and practices related to health misinformation in communities

This symposium was for librarians from all types of libraries, public health professionals, health professionals, students interested in research, and researchers.

NNLM Virtual Symposium, Health Misinformation on April 4-6, 2023. Explore the History, Research and Solutions about the spread of  health misinformation.