At the Missouri School of Journalism, we are dedicated to advancing knowledge and understanding in the field of journalism, with a specific focus on health communication. Our researchers are actively engaged in a range of critical areas that have a direct impact on public health and well-being. We invite aspiring scholars to join us in our endeavors to analyze and address the pressing challenges in health communication. 

Our research efforts are centered around several key themes, all of which contribute to the improvement of health communication and its vital role in society: 

  1. Effects of health messages: We investigate how health messages influence audience members and strive to enhance the effectiveness of public health messaging. By understanding the impact of different communication strategies, we aim to improve health outcomes and empower individuals to make informed decisions. 
  1. Public interest in medical research: Our researchers explore innovative approaches to increase public interest and engagement in the field of medical research. By bridging the gap between scientific advancements and public understanding, we contribute to the dissemination of accurate and relevant health information. 
  1. Journalism’s response to misinformation and health inequity: In an era of rampant misinformation, we investigate the roles and practices of journalists in combating false narratives and addressing health inequities. Through rigorous analysis and conceptual advancement, we aim to promote transparency, accuracy, and fairness in health journalism. 
  1. New communication technologies: We explore the affordances of emerging communication technologies in enhancing health communication. From digital platforms to social media, we investigate how these tools can be effectively utilized to disseminate health information, engage communities, and promote positive health behaviors. 
  1. Narrative power in health news: Our researchers recognize the importance of narrative storytelling in health news. We study the use of narratives to improve comprehension, foster empathy, and effectively communicate health information to diverse audiences. 
  1. Cultural influences on health help-seeking: Understanding the impact of cultural factors on health help-seeking behavior is crucial. Our research explores how cultural influences shape attitudes and behaviors related to seeking healthcare, aiming to develop strategies that promote inclusive and equitable health communication. 

By joining our team of dedicated scholars, PhD students will have the opportunity to contribute to cutting-edge research projects that address these critical aspects of health communication. Through interdisciplinary collaboration, rigorous analysis, and real-world impact, our program aims to shape the future of journalism and strategic communication in promoting public health and well-being. 

We welcome PhD students who are passionate about making a difference in health communication to join us in our scholarly endeavors. Together, we can drive positive change and create a healthier, more informed society. 


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You are welcome to explore your research interests with doctoral faculty who specialize in this area.