CMST 420 Health Communication

Syllabus (subject to revision and regular tinkering)

Fall 2014 Class Time: MW, 1pm to 3:20pm, Martin Hall 202

Instructor: Patricia Chantrill, Ph.D. Office Hours: MW 8:30am-9:30am (and by appointment), COM Bldg., Rm. 205 Cheney Campus.

E-mail:  Blog Address:

Course Overview: This  course  explores  health  communication  research  and  practice,  including  examination of  the  role  of  communication  in  health  care  delivery,  health  promotion  and  disease  prevention,  risk  communication,  as  well  as  in  promoting  personal  and  psychosocial  well  being.  The  course  cuts  across  multiple  levels  of  communication,  including different  communication channels and contexts and  the  use  of  diverse  communication  media  and  technologies. Course concepts will  be  explored  through  lectures,  readings,  discussions,  videos,  and  student  presentations.  Some  lectures  will  be  based  on  material  from  the  text;  however,  in  order  to  provide  you  with  a  broader  base  of  knowledge,  many  lectures  will  not  be redundant  of  text  content (making attendance and  in-class participation vital for student success in the course).

Course Objectives:

    • Provide a foundation of knowledge about the U.S. health care system.
    • Enable students to synthesize and apply that knowledge through written communication.
    • Understand the roles of interpersonal communication, mass communication and new/social media in health communication.
    • Provide examples of real-world health communication challenges and discuss how they were addressed by health communicators.
    • Explore how communication can play a vital role in achieving personal and public health objectives.
    • Engage students in how health messages are developed and delivered and how health communication campaigns are designed, implemented and evaluated.
    • Give students practical, hands-on experience evaluating and responding to health literacy challenges and differences across populations.

Required Textbooks:

  • Health Communication in the 21st Century, Wright, Sparks & O’Hair, 2nd Edition, (2013)
  • Other readings as assigned

Course Policies & Evaluation of Performance: Students are expected to read all assigned materials; attend all scheduled classes; make informed contributions to the class discussion; and demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the important examples and principles related to the political communication process.

    Grading: Grades will be assigned on the basis of 400 points for the course: 5 Qs (short quizzes) worth 20 points each, 7 Blog Challenges worth 10 points each, one final exam at 100 points, and one Health Communication Research paper detailing and analyzing designated topics (details TBA) at 100 points. Presentation of the Research: 30 points. The grading scale can be found here.

    Attendance & Participation: each student is granted 2 FREE absences on LECTURE-ONLY days. All other absences will result in a 10% deduction from the final grade.

    Academic Integrity: this course will abide by EWU’s Academic Integrity Policy (see this link for details). Notably, ”Violations of academic integrity involve the use or attempted use of any method or technique enabling a student to misrepresent the quality or integrity of any of his or her work in the university and the program of study.” Students are strongly urged to contact the instructor with any concerns regarding the academic integrity of exams, assignments, and/or intellectual property before turning in anything questionable.