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Health Communication

Communication is a central process in the provision of health care and the promotion of health. Health communication “encompasses the study and use of communication strategies to inform and influence individual and community decisions that enhance health” (Healthy People 2010).

The Major in Health Communication offers a scientific understanding of how health information is produced and exchanged and its impacts on individuals, community groups, institution and public policy.

This Major approaches the study of Health Communication at three levels:

  • At the individuals level, with a focus on interpersonal face-to-face and technology-enhanced communication;
  • At the public level, with a focus on social marketing, health campaigns and health education;
  • At the institutional level, with a focus on the translation of knowledge from researchers to legislative/administrative/clinical and industrial decision makers.

Specific topics of the Major include:

  • Health communication theory and research
  • Communication theories and models
  • Argumentation, rhetoric and persuasion
  • Interpersonal communication ethics
  • Medical humanities
  • Communication and health education
  • Consumer health informatics
  • Social marketing
  • Knowledge translation in health care
  • Participatory design

The Major in Health Communication represents the ideal preparation for a career as researcher in the field of communication sciences. Graduates of the Major are in an excellent position to further their career as managers in state and federal health agencies, managers in knowledge translations for healthcare institutions, public health leaders as well as educators and communication analysts for health promotion, advertising and marketing.


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