The new Strategic Health & Risk Communication certificate offers undergraduate students the knowledge, skills and experience related to applying communication principles to address public health problems. It will help prepare students to better meet the evolving health needs of society at large and use their health promotion and/or communication skills in an applied manner. The program will culminate in a capstone course in which students will create a public health communication campaign for a community client, providing students with valuable experiential and hands-on learning.
This interdisciplinary certificate program is expected to benefit students as it will qualify them to claim expertise in strategic health and risk communication, and expand their career opportunities in the fast-growing area.
The SHRC track requires 6 courses in a balanced curriculum: two core courses at Grady College, two courses at the College of Public Health, and two elective special topics courses. Students will apply for acceptance into the certificate program. However, students outside the certificate can take these courses, thus broadening the number of students introduced to this discipline.
What is Strategic Health and Risk Communication?
Industry and societal demand for graduates with strategic health and risk communication skills and knowledge are increasing. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the health care industry will increase by at least 20%, with more jobs available for health care marketing managers, health marketing analysts, health/ medical service managers, and health marketing communication specialists. This 18-credit certificate features courses from both departments, including core courses such as ADPR Health, Health and Risk Communication Campaigns (new course), Public Health Communication, and Health and Wellness. Two elective courses are required with topics ranging from storytelling and digital/social/crisis communication strategies, to an array of public health topics and their foundations.
Specifically, the following educational objectives will be met by this program:
To provide students with foundational knowledge in health promotion and health/risk communication.
To communicate the value of applying strategic health and risk communication to health promotion practice.
To illustrate the process of developing empirically-informed health and risk communication campaigns for public health purposes.
To practice the application of strategic public health and risk communication through project-based and experiential learning opportunities.
Strategic Health and Risk Communication Track Eligibility
Admission is open to majors in Grady College who meet the following criteria: the completion of 30 hours, including a statistics course (any STAT course, MSIT 3000, BIOS 2010+L), and one upper-division studies course (3000 or above) offered by the Department of Advertising and Public Relations (for example, ADPR 3100 Principles of Advertising or ADPR 3850 Public Relations). Applicants must have an overall GPA of 3.2 or higher to apply. Applicants must submit a formal essay explaining their interest in strategic health and risk communication. Application cycles are at the start of each Spring semester. Grady College students apply either when they apply to be a Grady College major or their first semester as a major.
Certificate Track: How It Works
The certificate program is designed to be completed in four semesters. Upon admission, students take two required core courses—one offered by Grady College, one offered by College of Public Health—as a cohort. Students then take two additional required courses and two electives. Students will work closely with an advisor to choose electives that align with the student’s interests.
Level I. Core Required Courses (12 hours)
Students will take two required core courses in ADPR and HPRB:
Advertising, Public Relations, and Health (ADPR 5110– 3 hours)
The role of advertising and public relations in the context of the burgeoning “health industry.” Topics discussed include: health communication research practice, the role of advertising and public relations in health care delivery, health promotion and disease prevention, risk communication, and personal as well as psychological well-being.
Health and Risk Communication Campaigns (ADPR 5742/7742 – 3 hours)
Students in this course will work in teams to conduct research, planning, and preparation of a health and risk communication campaign designed to solve problems for outside clients. Outside clients can include governmental entities, nonprofit organizations, hospitals, and other related agencies or businesses. Student teams will make a formal presentation to the client.
Note: ADPR 5742/7742 Health and Risk Communication Campaigns (capstone course) must be taken in the final semester when students complete the certificate requirement.
Health and Wellness (HPRB 1710 —3 hours)
Factors affecting the level of wellness of the individual are considered. Topics include mental health, nutrition, diet and weight control, physical fitness, smoking, human sexuality, consumer health, alcohol and other drugs, disease, environmental health, and injury prevention.
Introduction to Public Health Communication (HPRB 5310(E) —3 hours)
Practical introduction to public health communication from the individual to the societal level. Covers foundational communication concepts that impact health behavior, including media effects, persuasion, message development, media relations, entertainment education, health literacy, risk and crisis communication, social media, social marketing, organizational communication, and patient-practitioner communication.
Level II. Elective Courses (6 hours)
Students will take two advanced health and risk communication courses, in consultation with an advisor. Students also will be encouraged to take additional courses in the field, and to use their experiential learning courses in SHRC-related work.
Choose two of the following 3-hour, upper-level ADPR/HPRB courses:
• ADPR 3520E Graphic Communication
• ADPR 3110 Brand Storytelling
• ADPR 5120 Crisis Communication
• ADPR 5760 Digital and Social Comm. Strategies
• ADPR 5992 Advertising and PR Study Abroad (Cannes-Lions)
Note: other courses may satisfy the requirement with an approval of the program director.
• HPRB 5210 The Effects of Drug Use and Abuse
• HPRB 5060 Educational Strategies in Human Sexuality
• HPRB 3150 Issues in Women’s Health
• HPRB 3750 Foundations of Injury Prevention
Registration for the inaugural cohort of the Strategic Health & Risk Communication program is going on now until 5 p.m. March 12, 2021.
Dr. Jeong-Yeob Han directs the SHRC program for the Department of Advertising and Public Relations at Grady College. He is a strategic health and risk communication researcher who examines the psychology of communication influence and the effect of information and communication technologies on consumer attitudes, engagement and health outcomes. His research has appeared in leading communication, psychology, and public health journals, including Health Communication, Health Education Research and Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, among others. His scholarship has been internationally recognized with the Enzaim Best Article Award from Korea Health Communication Association and 6 top paper awards from the International Communication Association and the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication.
Dr. Christina Proctor
Dr. Christina Proctor directs the SHRC certificate for the Department of Health Promotion & Behavior in the College of Public Health. Her research interests include focuses in rural adolescent health, substance use in adolescents, tobacco use in adolescents, adolescent risky behaviors, risk and protective factors for adolescent health, resiliency in vulnerable populations. She teaches courses in undergraduate education in research methods, chronic disease prevention, education in human sexuality and substance use and abuse. Her published research has appeared in American Journal of Health Behavior, among others, and she is a members of the American Public Health Association and the American Association for Cancer Education.
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