The explosion of social media and other interactive communication technologies is dramatically changing the ways in which consumers obtain and make sense of health-related information. For example, peer to peer communication (e.g., within Facebook support group) about a medical condition is considered important to understanding communication with providers. Providers and other health care professionals must be fully aware of and appreciate all the different sources of information that are key to sensemaking and understanding. Creating messages that are clear, easy to understand, and address the emotional and logical processing of health information is crucial and lead to positive health outcomes. The messages also must address cultural differences and health disparities in terms of behavior and care that are present in a diverse society.
The health communication program will produce graduates who are skilled, effective and literate communicators. They will be able to facilitate the sensemaking and decision-making processes related to health information and be well equipped to communicate across many contexts and rapidly changing media platforms. Students completing this program will be prepared for a wide array of emerging health communication careers in industry, the non-profit sector and government.