Health Communication Minor

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Introducing Health Communication
The Department of Communication and Journalism is proud to present a minor in Health Communication. This minor includes a curriculum of theory, research, and application, focusing on health issues in the interpersonal, organizational, public, and mass-mediated contexts. The study of health communication can contribute to health promotion in areas such as patient-family communication, health messages and campaigns, health in mass media, public health, and technology and health. This minor is designed to be a program for students from a wide variety of majors who may seek careers within health fields.

Why choose a minor in Health Communication?

  • To learn the theory, research, and practice of health communication
  • To learn and apply strategies that can enhance communication among colleagues, peers, patients, and family members/caregivers in the healthcare context
  • To understand and explain the origins, development, and increasingly diverse nature of health communication as it relates to interpersonal, community, and public perspectives
  • To examine the factors that influence health, including education, culture, technology, and age

Objectives of the minor
There is an increasing need for greater awareness and knowledge of health communication. Healthcare reform, end-of-life care, and pharmaceutical marketing are just a few of the issues facing the nation that are dependent upon the ability to engage in productive, meaningful health communication. Effective health communication can directly impact local communities and personal lives. The individuals who participate in healthcare delivery, such as nurses, patient advocates, family members, health administrators, and physicians, are increasingly being asked to communicate and collaborate more efficiently with colleagues, exchange information with patients, and address multiple audiences about healthcare.

A minor in health communication will allow students to analyze different health contexts and accommodate increasingly diverse populations. Students can also learn about a symbiotic patient-provider relationship and the impact of technology in healthcare.

New course: COM 254 Introduction to Health Communication
Course description: Provides students with a comprehensive overview of health communication. Health communication is an area of study designed to impact the behavior, attitudes, and actions of individuals in a health setting – patients, providers and support staff – and to improve the health interaction as a result. Health communication is also an effective framework for molding educated patients with a vested interest in their own care. This course will give students an understanding of the tools used to improve communication in a healthcare setting and strategies for implementing these tools, which cover the role of the educated patient in today’s information-saturated world, the balance of power in the patient-provider relationship, the role of nonverbal communication, the provider-provider relationship, and the breaking of bad news. The course also will provide students with an overview of the areas in which health communication can be utilized, including academia, hospitals, physician offices, and in playing an active role in one’s own care. The role of media in perceptions about health care also will be explored.