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Proposed Data Collections Submitted for Public Comment and Recommendations

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In compliance with the requirement of Section 3506(c)(2)(A) of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 for opportunity for public comment on proposed data collection projects, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will publish periodic summaries of proposed projects. To request more information on the proposed projects or to obtain a copy of the data collection plans and instruments, call 404-639-5960 and send comments to, Daniel Holcomb, CDC Reports Clearance Officer, 1600 Clifton Road, MS-D74, Atlanta, GA 30333 or send an e-mail to

Comments are invited on: (a) Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information shall have practical utility; (b) the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information; (c) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (d) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on respondents, including through the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology. Written comments should be received within 60 days of this notice.

Proposed Project

Health Message Testing System, (0920-0572, exp. 11/30/2011)— Revision—Office of the Associate Director for Communication, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).Start Printed Page 44590

Background and Brief Description

Before CDC disseminates a health message to the public, the message always undergoes scientific review. However, even though the message is based on sound scientific content, there is no guarantee that the public will understand a health message or that the message will move people to take recommended action. Communication theorists and researchers agree that for health messages to be as clear and influential as possible, target audience members or representatives must be involved in developing the messages and provisional versions of the messages must be tested with members of the target audience.

However, increasingly there are circumstances when CDC must move swiftly to protect life, prevent disease, or calm public anxiety. Health message testing is even more important in these instances, because of the critical nature of the information need.

CDC receives a mandate from Congress with a tight deadline for communicating with the public about a specific topic. For example, Congress gave CDC 120 days to develop and test messages for a public information campaign about Helicobacter pylori, a bacterium that can cause stomach ulcers and increase cancer risk if an infected individual is not treated with antibiotics.

In the interest of timely health message dissemination, many programs forgo the important step of testing messages on dimensions such as clarity, salience, appeal, and persuasiveness (i.e., the ability to influence behavioral intention). Skipping this step avoids the delay involved in the standard OMB review process, but at a high potential cost. Untested messages can waste communication resources and opportunities because the messages can be perceived as unclear or irrelevant. Untested messages can also have unintended consequences, such as jeopardizing the credibility of Federal health officials.

The Health Message Testing System (HMTS), a generic information collection, will enable programs across CDC to collect the information they require in a timely manner to:

  • Ensure quality and prevent waste in the dissemination of health information by CDC to the public.
  • Refine message concepts and to test draft materials for clarity, salience, appeal, and persuasiveness to target audiences.
  • Guide the action of health communication officials who are responding to health emergencies, Congressionally-mandated campaigns with short timeframes, media-generated public concern, time-limited communication opportunities, trends, and the need to refresh materials or dissemination strategies in an ongoing campaign.

Each testing instrument will be based on specific health issues or topics. Although it is not possible to develop one instrument for use in all instances, the same kinds of questions are asked in most message testing. This package includes generic questions and formats that can be used to develop health message testing data collection instruments. These include a list of screening questions, comprised of demographic and introductory questions, along with other questions that can be used to create a mix of relevant questions for each proposed message testing data collection method. However, programs may request to use additional questions if needed.

Message testing questions will focus on issues such as comprehension, impressions, personal relevance, content and wording, efficacy of response, channels, and spokesperson/sponsor. Such information will enable message developers to enhance the effectiveness of messages for intended audiences.

Data collection methods proposed for HMTS include intercept interviews, telephone interviews, focus groups, online surveys, and cognitive interviews. In almost all instances, data will be collected by outside organizations under contract with CDC.

There is no cost to the respondents other than their time.

Table A12A—Estimated Annualized Burden Hours

Data collection methodsNumber of respondents per methodNumber of responses per respondentAverage burden per response (in hours)Total burden hours
Central Location Intercept Interviews, Telephone Interviews, Individual In-depth Interview (Cognitive Interviews), Focus Group Screenings, Focus Groups, Online Surveys18,52518/602,470
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Dated: July 19, 2011.

Daniel Holcomb,

Reports Clearance Officer, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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[FR Doc. 2011-18807 Filed 7-25-11; 8:45 am]