Health Communication Courses

Students in the PhD program are invited to take courses across any of our areas. A complete listing of courses in the PhD program can be found in the Graduate Catalog.

Regularly scheduled courses in health communication include:

COMS 7230 – Communication and Information Diffusion
Analysis of major approaches to data and information diffusion systems on local, regional, national, and international levels. Emphasis on acquisition analysis and dissemination of data as information, including critical points of interface and interaction between a system and its uses.

COMS 7400 – Introduction to Health Communication
Survey of the wide range of topics within the area of health communication, including cultural concepts of health, patient centered meanings of health, physician patient interaction, social support, health promotion campaigns, harm reduction campaigns, mass media constructions of health, risk communication, and health-related values and ethics.

COMS 7900 – Topics in Communication Studies
Seminars focused on a special topic with a COMS faculty instructor, a visiting faculty member, or a visiting professional. May be repeated for up to 20 hours.

COMS 8400 – Communication Issues in Health Care Organizations
This course introduces students to research on communication issues in health care organizing and provides a forum for developing research agendas in this area. Underscoring course reading and assignments is the assumption that health, illness, and healing acquire meaning through symbolic interactions located within social, political, economic, and cultural structures.

COMS 8420 – Health Communication and Culture
The purpose of this course is to examine the influence of culture on communicative aspects of patient and public health. The course explores theories of communication medical anthropology, and health education to understand the conceptual foundations of intercultural health. The course analyzes how peoples’ health beliefs play out in interactions with patients and providers, and examines how public health strategies can be designed for specific cultural contexts. The larger purpose of this course is to train graduate students to communicate more effectively with patients, providers, and the public in multicultural health care settings.

COMS 8430 – Relational Issues in Health Communication
This course will highlight the communicative accomplishment of health relationships. In particular, students will gain an understanding of the interactional resources that enable health care participants to construct emergent relationships and identities.

COMS 8440 – Public Understanding of Health and Healing
Seminar exploring the relationships among communication, public culture, and public perceptions of health and healing. Surveys theoretical approaches (i.e., cultural studies, rhetorical analysis) and emphasizes the application of theory through writing and criticism. There is a strong emphasis on exploring current issues and challenges facing the health care industry and the public’s understanding of health and healing.

COMS 8900 – Special Topics in Communication Studies
Specific course content will vary with offering.

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Miller, J. L., Sandburg, S., & Kay, C. S. (Forthcoming). Diamonds in the rough: Claims, evidence, and reasoning in Facebook comments. 
American Behavioral Scientist.
Lippert, A., & Kay, C. S. (Forthcoming). Click for Dixie: Virtual plantation tours’ use of White nostalgia and directed narrative experience. Chapter proposal accepted for the edited collection, Subjectivities of Interactive Nostalgia

2017 Excellence in Service Award recipient, The National Society of Leadership and Success: Ohio University Chapter. Nominated by former students. Carson Kay was the only graduate student and the only humanities scholar awarded by the society.


Kay, C. S. (2018, January 29). Graduate school and you: Insight from a Viking alum. Invited Skype presenter to discuss the graduate school experience with Dr. Sam Nazione’s senior seminar communication course at Berry College.
Kay, C. S. (2017, November 16-19). The young judge’s dilemma: Examining the tension between established team friendship and objectivity in judging ‘cousin’ teams.” Paper presented at the 2017 National Communication Association Annual Convention, Austin, Texas.
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