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University of Iowa News Release


March 12, 2008

New center will be at forefront of rural health communication

The Center for Health Communication and Social Marketing, newly established in the University of Iowa College of Public Health, will promote communication research to address today's public health challenges.

"Health communication is a newer area in academic public health," said Shelly Campo, Ph.D., UI assistant professor of community and behavioral health and communication studies and director of the center. "Traditionally the area has been part of communication-related departments. But strategic, research-based health communication is an essential component of disease prevention and health promotion, making the field a natural part of the public health mission."

This departmental center will promote research in five health communication core areas: health persuasion, health campaigns and social marketing, framing of health in news media, health literacy, and social relationships and family communication. These areas are consistent with the aims of Healthy People 2010, a comprehensive, nationwide health promotion and disease prevention campaign promoted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

"Most health communication research is focused on urban populations," Campo said. "As one of the few health communication research centers in the Midwest, the center will be at the forefront of teaching, research, and public health practice aimed at communicating with rural populations."

Research conducted at the center will include interdisciplinary, collaborative and community-based projects. The center also will recruit and train graduate students in the Health Communication sub-tracks in the Department of Community and Behavioral Health as well as health communication students in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication and the Department of Communication Studies in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

"The center will connect graduate students and researchers interested in health communication with practicum and research opportunities throughout the state of Iowa," said Yong-Chan Kim, UI assistant professor of community and behavioral health and center investigator.

Center researchers will collaborate with investigators from several College of Public Health and university-based centers as well as the Colleges of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Nursing, Dentistry and Pharmacy. Researchers will also work with the public health practice community in Iowa and nationwide.

"We welcome opportunities to work with public health researchers, practitioners, and the people of Iowa to improve the health of all Iowans," Campo said.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa College of Public Health Office of Communications and External Relations, 4257 Westlawn, Iowa City, Iowa 52242

MEDIA CONTACTS: Shelly Campo, 319-384-5393,; Kate Gleeson, UI College of Public Health, 319-384-4277,