Health Communication Ph.D. launched

The Department of Communication Studies in the IU School of Liberal Arts at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis is now accepting applications for its newest post-graduate degree: a doctorate in health communication.

The new degree program opens in fall 2014. Academically well-prepared and highly motivated individuals interested in the study of health communication are invited to apply. A master’s degree is required for admission. The application deadline is Feb. 1.

Health communication is defined as the study and use of communication strategies to inform and influence decisions that affect health issues such as individual access to and use of health information; the dissemination of public health messages; consumer education on health issues; patient-health professional relationships; and health disparities. It is increasingly being recognized as a necessary element of efforts to improve both personal and public health.

The new degree program will help prepare the workforce needed for an ever-changing health care environment in which communication is becoming more vital to building relationships between patients and health care providers; encouraging people to adopt healthy behaviors; promoting public health initiatives; and helping society as a whole adapt to emerging technologies, according to Professor Jennifer Bute, director of graduate studies for the Department of Communication Studies.

“Health communication scholars and professionals are uniquely suited to aid not only their academic departments, but also the medical profession and the broader community in recognizing the critical role that communication plays in achieving health-related goals,” Bute said. “From supporting lifestyle changes to encouraging adherence to treatment plans to navigating changing health policies, communication is at the very heart of today’s most pressing health issues.”

A minimum of 90 credit hours beyond the bachelor’s degree is required to complete coursework for the IU advanced degree in health communication. Credit hours required include coursework in communication theory and research methods, along with seminars in content areas such as health provider-consumer communication, intercultural communication and group communication. Students will also complete comprehensive exams and perform research in the field.

Students in the doctoral program will have opportunities to obtain competency for teaching and research in various areas, including health interpersonal relationships, intercultural health and mediated communication in health care such as health campaign development. Students will also participate in research on health and medical communication issues and develop skills necessary to translate research on clinical problems in practice.

Employment opportunities for degree recipients will include positions in academia as well as health care.

“We are proud to add this new Ph.D. program to our degree offerings in the IU School of Liberal Arts,” Dean William Blomquist said. “These doctoral students will work with faculty in the Department of Communication Studies and in other departments and schools across the IUPUI campus to improve research and practice in the growing and vital field of health communication. The graduates from this program will comprise the next generation of scholars helping to make health care, disease prevention and risk management in the United States and around the world more effective.”

‘Woman President’ authors examine factors that have kept women out of the White House

In Woman President: Confronting Postfeminist Political Culture, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis professor Kristina Horn Sheeler and Colorado State University professor Karrin Vasby Anderson examine the 2008 candidacies of Clinton and Palin, and presidential campaigns of other women, along with campaign public addresses, political journalism and punditry, political humor, and television and movie depictions of female presidents. The authors uncover a political and popular culture backlash against women that has kept the White House a man’s place.

“When media depictions of female candidates are based on sexist stereotypes, or worse yet, pornographic and misogynistic framing, we have not just a political culture that discredits political women, but a larger cultural undercurrent that demonstrates a backlash against the gains women have made in the last decade,” Sheeler said.

Sheeler is an associate professor and chair of the Department of Communication Studies in the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI. Anderson is an associate professor of communication studies at Colorado State University in Fort Collins. The duo also co-authored “Governing Codes: Gender, Metaphor, and Political Identity.”

In “Woman President: Confronting Postfeminist Political Culture,” Sheeler and Anderson provide a discussion of U.S. presidentiality as a unique rhetorical role. Within that framework, they review women’s historical and contemporary presidential bids, placing special emphasis on the 2008 campaign. They also consider how presidentiality is framed in candidate oratory, campaign journalism, film and television, digital media and political parody.

“Everyone seeking a more complete understanding of the presidency, campaign rhetoric, gender studies and the role of the media in the portrayal of women in the White House and in coverage of women in campaigns, including the election of 2008, will find the scholarship and analysis in this book of value,” said Janet M. Martin, author of “The Presidency and Women: Promise, Performance and Illusion in the White House” and professor of government at Bowdoin College.

“Examining women’s historical and recent presidential campaigns, television and movie depictions of women presidents, and the 2008 Clinton and Palin candidacies, Sheeler and Anderson reveal the hegemonic power wielded by an essentialist white masculinity. Their argument is uncompromising and compelling, controversial and persuasive; their book engages and challenges readers across the disciplines,” said MaryAnne Borrelli, author of” The Politics of the President’s Wife” and professor of government at Connecticut College.

Sheeler’s and Anderson’s book, published by Texas A & M University Press, hit bookstore shelves last month.