Health communication is one of the fastest growing fields in the discipline of communication. By understanding how communication affects health -- as well as how health is affected by communication -- we can improve health care practice and policy, change health behavior and reduce disease incidence, and ultimately improve health outcomes while decreasing human suffering.

Launching in the fall of 2021, this 18-credit minor is designed to allow students to approach a range of health-related issues systematically and to gain knowledge in how multiple processes of communication are critical to improving the health of our society. Students are exposed to a variety of communication frameworks including:

  • intrapersonal processes of communication (attitudes and beliefs)
  • interpersonal or relational aspects (family, friends, providers)
  • social influence (literacy, stigma, ethnic disparities)
  • organizational issues (health care teams, power, voice)
  • risk communication (genetics, family history, public health crises)
  • mass communication and technological influences (social media, e-health, campaigns)

Upon completion of the minor, students will be able to determine how communication impacts major contributors for disease prevention and control as well as how to identify and analyze communication strategies that are most effective for health promotion and wellness. Students will gain knowledge and insight into how communication in general can affect patient or client outcomes and the ability to apply these skills toward the betterment of their careers in the health professions.

For more information, please contact Dr. Nathan Gilkerson.