Communication and Media Studies 665

COMS 665: Seminar in Health Communication

Prerequisites: Graduate standing and instructor permission

Credit Hours: (3)

COMS 665 is a survey of research findings and theoretical models relevant to communication practices and health care at the interpersonal, group, organizational and societal levels. It will be delivered online.


Detailed Description of Content of Course

The content for this course may include but will not be limited to the academic study and professional practice of health communication; the elements of effective health communication; communication theories in a health-related context; demographic differences in the receptivity to health information; interpersonal relations necessary for effective health communication; public relations and public advocacy in health communication; and health communication campaigns.  Topics will be derived from a graduate-level health communication textbook and primary academic articles associated with various health-related topics.

Detailed Description of Conduct of Course

The course will be delivered in an online format.  Students will be required to log in during assigned times during the week while the lecture is being delivered. They may be required to discuss health-communication campaign examples, videos, various academic articles, and chapters from the course textbook. Students may also be required to participate in a weekly online discussion board and several online group chat sessions.  Another major assignment may involve leading a class discussion during the semester.

Goals and Objectives of this Course:

By the end of the course, students will be able to:

  • Define health communication as both an area of academic study and professional practice
  • Identify and discuss the elements of effective health communication
  • Apply various communication theories to health-related contexts
  • Recognize and respond to ethnic, gender, cultural and religious differences in the context of health communication
  • Master the art of effective interpersonal relations in a health-related context
  • Define and discuss public relations and public advocacy as areas related to health communication
  • Design, implement, and evaluate effective population-level health communication campaigns
  • Utilize communication theory to improve professional interactions between health care providers and patients

Assessment Measures

Students may be assessed according to their participation in class (quality of online discussion and participation in discussion groups outside of class), their scores on various group quizzes, reaction papers and exams, and the overall quality of their final papers (ability to critically analyze and apply literature to a health-related context, quality of writing). 

Other Course Information


Review and Approval

February 15, 2013