Health communicators plan and execute communication campaigns that aim to increase awareness and understanding of healthcare issues, such as disease prevention or health policy; promote public health and improve quality of life; develop messages for health promotion and advocacy, carry out communication research and evaluate the effectiveness of message strategies; and tailor health messaging for target audiences and draw on fields such as public health, marketing and social and behavioral sciences to develop messaging strategies.
Students should have an interest in strategic communication and public health and well-being. The BA/MA in Health Communication program is designed around a curriculum of academic and professional skills courses from strategic communication, public health and other relevant disciplines. Core courses will connect mass communication messaging to the field of public health, and will introduce students to factors influencing health-related behavior. In addition, students will choose electives that will further their understanding of public health and the social and behavioral sciences, as they relate to strategic health messaging. The practicum and capstone courses will allow students to apply their knowledge to real-world contexts. Students must be declared in the Journalism major–Strategic Communication track to apply to the MA program.
In the Twin Cities, healthcare employment is estimated to represent 11 percent of total employment with a growing demand for communications expertise. Graduates of this program will have a combination of specific message strategy and content development knowledge paired with knowledge of the healthcare field. Career options include: Director of Health Communication, Patient Services Specialist, Health Account Executive, Director of Public Relations, Advocacy Director, Health Marketing Consultant and Hospital Communication Specialist.
U of M program
BA/MA in Health Communication in the School of Journalism & Mass Communication