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.”