One Agency's Use of Risk Assessment and Risk Communication

Ann Fisher, Atsushi Chitose, Philip S. Gipson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Few organizations have the courage to evaluate their own use of risk assessment (identifying hazards and estimating their probability and magnitude) and risk communication (interacting with internal and external stakeholder groups about risks). The USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) wants to enhance its overall risk analysis process for managing a wide range of risks to animals, plants, and human health. We gathered survey data for a baseline of APHIS professionals’ understanding and use of risk assessment and risk communication. APHIS professionals spend a surprisingly large share of their time communicating about risks. They perceive that risk estimates influence decisions, but that risk estimates should have more influence. Respondents reported little opposition to APHIS risk management decisions, and little use of channels such as USDA Extension Service for disseminating risk messages. Substantial variance across responses is explained mostly by differences in the roles of the 11 work units (now 10) within the agency. Location also contributes to the variance. Demographic variables seem less important.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)207-212
Number of pages6
JournalRisk Analysis
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1994


  • Risk communication
  • baseline survey
  • needs assessment
  • risk assessment


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