Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Help a PhD Student Out: Cancer Communication Study

I'm on the dissertation committee for a great interpersonal health communication student, and she's recruiting for her dissertation project. If you're interested, or know someone who might be, please take or share her survey!

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Research Participation Opportunity
The purpose of this research study is to examine how those diagnosed with cancer tell family members. The focus of this study is to understand the thought process that occurs when contemplating disclosure to others.  Your participation in the study will contribute to a better understanding of how individuals with cancer make decisions about communicating the information to family and friends. Your participation is completely voluntary.

You are eligible to participate if:
·         You are at least 18 years old
·         You have been diagnosed with cancer at some point and told an immediate family member (NOT your spouse) about it

Approximately 300 people will participate in this study. If you choose to participate, you will be asked to answer questions about your thoughts and experiences disclosing your diagnosis to your family in an online survey which will take approximately 15-20 minutes to complete.

To access the survey, please click here:

I appreciate your help, and please contact Erin Nelson at if you have any questions.

Thank you!

Friday, April 24, 2015

Successes and Failures in Telehealth Conference

For those interested, abstract submission for the SFT-15 conference are now open. You can head to the conference website here.

I absolutely love this conference.  I think the idea of a conference which actively invites "failed" projects to share their research so others can learn from them is awesome.  I went to this years ago to share some of my dissertation work, and one of my advisees went there a couple years ago to present another project.  I suspect we'll be submitting something again this year.

It's a well-run conference in a great location, so it's worth a look if you've never been to SFT.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Stigma and Health

I received an e-mail a few weeks back about a new journal from the American Psychological Association, called Stigma and Health. I haven't sent anything there yet, but it's definitely going to be a journal I keep looking at in the coming months.  As I dig more into research on stigma, specifically as it relates to health literacy, I think this will be a publication that will have a lot of relevant research and that I'll probably want to submit to. Just wanted to share, figured it might be of interest and not on most people's radars yet.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Big Data: Special Issue on Data and Healthcare

I got an e-mail with a call for papers on a special issue of Big Data focused on data and healthcare. I'm sure that issues related to big data and health are just going to become more prominent - for both research and practice - in the coming years, so this might be a great special issue on the topic.

Interested people should check out the call here.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

On the Media: The Cancer Show (Part I)

A week or two ago while listening to On the Media they put out a call for people to talk about cancer for a couple upcoming episodes. I love when OTM covers health and media, so an entire episode focused on cancer sounded great to me. The Cancer Show: Part I definitely didn't disappoint.

The intro/opening segment featured Siddhartha Mukherjee, who wrote The Emperor of All Maladies. That's one of the best books I've ever read, and he's an excellent interview, too.

The second segment, featuring the great health comm scholar Jake Jensen, was all about perception and reality as the media covers cancer, cancer cures, and how some of that translates to actual funding for cancer-related research.

If you have an interest in health comm in general, and issues related to cancer in particular, it's an excellent OTM to check out.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

JAMA Editor in Chief Presentation at UT

This afternoon the UT Moody College of Communication hosted the Editor in Chief of JAMA, Howard Bauchner. Every spring we host a major event to honor someone who has made substantial contributions to health communication, and Bauchner was a great choice for this year.

I had the chance to talk to him earlier in the day in a small group setting with some other faculty, and then listened to his afternoon talk titled "Medical Journals as Communication Networks."  A few things popped out from both the early conversation and the talk.

IMPACT FACTOR: I obviously knew what impact factors were before today, but I had never realized that the denominator for each journal was based only on "substantive articles." So when someone cites an opinion piece in JAMA, it raises that numerator (number of cites) but the opinion piece doesn't actually count in the denominator for number of articles in JAMA. Just a random fact for the day that I found to be really interesting.

JAMA KNOWS ITS AUDIENCE AND RESPONDS: Bauchner talked about a lot of surveys of readers that they have used to improve the journal experience. One reason art was dropped from the cover was so that people could more easily see what was in each issue and what they might be interested in. Changes and innovations in content - different abstract formats, bullet points of key findings, etc. - are driven by what readers prefer.

JAMA IS VERY AWARE OF THE MEDIA: I remember hearing a great interview with the editor of the Lancet about the original Wakefield study on vaccines and measles and what they learned from that episode, including how to deal with the media. In the presentation this afternoon, Bauchner talked about research on how medical journals and the media interact and how it has influenced what JAMA does with press releases and trying to ensure media do a good job covering articles in JAMA.

JAMA KNOWS ITS IMPACT ON HEALTH PRACTICE AND POLICY: There are some clear instances of JAMA articles really driving health practice and policy decisions. Bauchner was really proud of some of the positive examples of that, and it makes them very thoughtful and deliberate about some of the decisions they make.

Overall, it was a very interesting day!

Friday, March 13, 2015

Including Men in Prenatal Health: The Potential of e-Health to Improve Birth Outcomes

We have a new article out at Telemedicine and e-Health that I'm particularly excited about. It's a study of how e-health may be a tool to get men involved in prenatal health, a topic they're not typically engaged with. The abstract of Including Men in Prenatal Health: The Potential of e-Health to Improve Birth Outcomes is:

Background: The U.S. infant mortality rate is the highest in the developed world, and disparity impacts underserved populations. Traditional maternal health focuses on women, excluding men from information affecting family health. Scholars advocate including men in prenatal health to reduce infant mortality, a proven strategy in developing nations. This study explored the role of U.S. men in prenatal health, barriers to involvement, and the use of e-health. Special attention was given to health literacy; research indicates e-health is effective in educating low health-literate audiences.  
Materials and Methods: This study interviewed men with an average age of 33 years (n=32). The sample was 38% Hispanic, 28% African American, 28% white, and 6% multiracial. Participants were asked about pregnancy health and used a pregnancy-related e-health application on a tablet computer. Participants provided opinions on content, ease of use of the tablet, and willingness to use similar applications. 
Results: Men believe it is important to be involved in pregnancy to help ensure healthy births. Most use mobile devices and computers for health information and found the application to be useful and interesting. Most concluded they would use a similar application to learn about pregnancy. Health literacy had minimal impact on participants' use of the tablet and information.  
Conclusions: This study explored the role men play in prenatal health, a promising avenue toward better birth outcomes. Using e-health is an opportune approach—it can reach men unavailable to attend prenatal programs because of work or feeling unwelcome at programs deemed “only for women.”

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Save the Date for the UT Health Communication Leadership Institute: June 23-26, 2015

I wanted to alert readers to the UT Health Communication Leadership Institute that will be going on this summer in Austin. From the program information:

Save the Date for the University of Texas Center for Health Communication’s first annual Health Communication Leadership Institute (June 23-26, 2015). Participants will learn strategies and best practices for leadership, management, and innovation. Speakers will include internationally-respected experts from diverse sectors and settings. Training sessions will be highly participatory and case-study driven.

If you're interested in knowing more, you can check out the full brochure about the institute here.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

University of Texas Center for Health Communication

I've written here before about the new Center for Health Communication at UT, but I don't think I had shared the new website as it gets up and running. For those interested in health communication at UT, you can learn more about the Center and what's going on at:

The Center is going to be a great resource for those at UT doing work in this area, and it has tremendous potential to contribute broadly to the field. I couldn't be more excited about the Center and what it will do in the coming years.