Global Terminology Considerations

Global Terminology Considerations

The list below is a collection of terms and phrases that, depending on the context and situation, should be carefully considered before use in global public health communication activities (e.g., scientific literature, web content, social media, interviews, reports, presentations, discussion with communities and colleagues, etc.).

Do you have questions or feedback?

Please contact us at

  1. The primary goals of the list below are to foster reflection/understanding on why some terms need reevaluation and to provide recommendations on how terminology could shift to further promote equity. Be cautious not to simply replace terms with new ones that lack current stigma but could be just as harmful/vague/inaccurate as the original.
  2. The list below is English-specific and is neither comprehensive, nor final. Not all recommendations are applicable to every situation/context across the world. This resource is a useful starting point, but it is critical to engage varying levels of community members to localize/tailor all considerations presented below.
  3. The considerations below are not universally agreed upon or embraced. Thus, the below is not a style guide. The considerations below are intended to prompt discussion and reflection, raise awareness, and offer recommendations while language, terminology, and cultures continue to evolve. Avoid shaming colleagues and partners when engaging in discussion of terminology. Prioritize diplomatic discussion about why some terminology is more/less appropriate, depending on the context.

Additional terminology resources:

Page last reviewed: August 8, 2022
Content source: Global Health