2016 BEA Research Symposium – Risk and Health Communication in an Evolving Media Environment

Sunday, April 17, 2016
Research Symposium Chair:
H. Dan O’Hair (ohair@g.uky.edu)

About the Symposium Theme: Risk and Health Communication in an Evolving Media Environment

Disease outbreaks, terrorist acts, and natural disasters are obvious examples of contexts in which risk and health communication play a critical role. Broadcasting media have found risk and health crisis events to be particularly seductive as stories that fascinate their audiences. Moreover, with digital media evolving at such a rapid rate, many members of the audience have taken on the role of newsmaker or reporter—we are not entirely certain to what effect.  Many in the risk and health communication research communities find extreme events and hazardous contexts to be on the increase, and an evolving media landscape introduces both challenges and opportunities for using communication to manage these situations.

This symposium will address these issues as well as the research implications inherent in risk and health communication contexts. For example, how are these contexts best approached—inductively or deductively?  How do researchers balance scientific finding with social and cultural issues?  To what extent can media (legacy and digital) play a role in mitigating the effects of risk and adverse health events? How are potential ethical repercussions of communication disentangled from the unfolding and unpredictable events? How do we study an increasingly media-savvy society with traditional research methods?


9:00 am – 10:15 am | Advances in Health Communication Research

Chair:  Michel Haigh, Pennsylvania State University

There and Back Again:  An Overview and History of Health Communication

Teresa Thompson, University of Dayton

Media Literacy and Parent-Adolescent Communication about Alcohol in Media: Effects on Adolescent Alcohol Use

YoungJu Shin, Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis; Michael Hecht, Pennsylvania State University & Michelle Miller-Day, Chapman University

College Students and Legalized Marijuana: Knowledge Gaps and Belief Gaps Regarding the Law and Health Effects

Douglas Blanks Hindman, Washington State University

Out of Sight, Out of Mind?  Addressing Unconscious Brand Awareness in Healthcare Communication

Kari Barber, University of Nevada (Presenter); Laura Crosswell, University of Nevada; Lance Porter, Louisiana State University & Meghan Sanders, Louisiana State University


10:30 am – 11:45 am | Communicating and Educating the Public and Media about Risk and Science

Chair:  Mary John O’Hair, University of Kentucky

Occupational Safety and Health Communication: Reaching Diverse Audiences with Complex Messages

Donna Van Bogaert, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health

Explaining Local Impacts of Climate Change:  TV Meteorologists as Climate Science Educators

Katherine Rowan, George Mason University

Communicating Uncertain Science to the Public: How Amount and Source of Uncertainty Impact Fatalism, Backlash, and Overload

Jakob D. Jensen, University of Utah (Presenter); Manusheela Pokharel, University of Utah; Courtney Scherr, Moffitt Cancer Center; Andy J King, Texas Tech University; Natasha Brown, Indiana University – Northwest & Christina Jones, University of Wisconsin – Whitewater

Non-Scientists’ Knowledge Sharing Expectations in Citizen Science.

Kevin (Fitz) Duffy, Michigan State University; Anthony Cepak, Michigan State University; Zhao Peng, Michigan State University & Serena Carpenter, Michigan State University


12:00 pm – 1:15 pm | Research Symposium Keynote Address

Chair:  Gary Kreps, George Mason University

Bradford Hesse, ‎Chief, Health Communication and Informatics Research Branch, National Cancer Institute


1:30 pm – 2:45 pm | Exploring Messages and Media during Extreme Events

Chair: Megan Sizemore, University of Kentucky

First Alert Weather: Local Broadcasters’ Communication during Weather Emergencies.

Chandra Clark, University of Alabama; Michael Bruce, University of Alabama & Scott Hodgson, University of Oklahoma

Designing Disaster Warnings for Behavioral Change:  The Intersection of Technological Innovation and Effective Messages

Jeannette Sutton, University of Kentucky

The Importance of Using Data to Guide Effective Communication during Health Emergencies

Gary Kreps, George Mason University

“It’s Not Preventable Yet You Are Responsible: Risk and Attribution Assessment of 2012 West Nile Outbreak.”

Nan Yu, North Dakota State University (Presenter); Robert Littlefield, North Dakota State University; Laura Farrell, Longewood University & Ruoxu Wang, Penn State University

Climate Change, Risk and Framing in the Media: Communicating Urgency and Promoting Effective Behavior Change for a Better Future

Erica Ramsey Pulley, San Francisco State University


3:00 pm – 4:15 pm | Situating Theory in Risk and Health Communication Contexts

Chair:  Michael Bruce, University of Alabama

Examining Print Coverage of the Keystone Pipeline XL Using the Social Amplification of Risk Framework.

Michel M. Haigh, Pennsylvania State University

Terrorism, Risk Communication, and Theoretical Pluralism.

Kevin Ayotta, Fresno State University

The Effects and Implications of Values, Ethics, and Professionalism on Risk and Health Messages in a Public Affairs Context

Shannon Bowen, University of South Carolina

Big Gulps, Smokes, Taunts, and Ta-Tas: Situating Public Health Campaigns within Applied and Theoretical Frameworks

Kimberly Baker, University of Alabama

The Theory of Normative Social Behavior: A Review

Manusheela Pokharel, University of Utah; Nick Carcioppolo, University of Miami & Jakob Jensen, University of Utah