Health Communication Initiative

The Health Communication Initiative (HCI) collaborates to inspire health and wellness of individuals to communities through innovative communication research and advocacy.

Our mission considers the complexities of health in an increasingly global world and provides guidance and locally-specific solutions that advocate for healthy individuals and societies. We clarify and elaborate our mission below.

Collaborates: We understand health broadly to include emotional, physical, social, mental, spiritual, and behavioral aspects of wellness. While some views consider health as the absence of illness, we focus on the role of communication in producing and maintaining healthy individuals, relationships, groups, communities, and societies.

Health and wellness: HCI defines health broadly to include, among other elements, emotional, physical, social, mental, spiritual, and behavioral aspects of wellness. While some views consider health as the absence of illness, we focus more broadly on the role of communication in producing and maintaining healthy individuals, relationships, groups, communities, and societies.

Individuals to communities: Health occurs within an individual as well as within relationships, groups, communities, and societies. Therefore, we examine health and wellness in diverse contexts. We mobilize resources to promote health equity for mainstream and marginalized communities. We emphasize the impact of macro and micro health messages. And, we promote public health in the United States and other global contexts. 

Communication research: We examine health through a communicative lens, where we understand human interaction as central to health and wellness. We offer a breadth and depth of expertise, experience, and skill in designing and executing health communication research. Examples of these include creating health interventions, studying mobile health and technology, and evaluating public health campaigns. Our communication faculty bring a wide array of perspectives and experiences to the study of health and wellness.

Advocacy: We are advocates for health and wellness in various contexts, locally and globally. In concert with our research, we work alongside community members to create positive transformation in health behaviors and beliefs. For example, one project examines how the culture of college campuses influences student decisions about alcohol use. Another explores how cultural beliefs about gender impact the delivery and efficacy of health care messages to women living in border communities. Yet another seeks to prevent problematic alcohol use and violence among youth in Nicaragua, Central America. In these varied ways and contexts, we advocate for healthy individuals and society.