Competencies

Upon successful completion of the Masters of Science in Health Communication, students will be able to:

  1. Analyze public health problems using an ecological approach to identify "leverage points" (from the individual to policy level) most likely to produce sustainable change within individuals and in the environment.
  2. Use empirical evidence, formative research, and theory to develop strategies and messages to promote healthful change in specific "target" audiences.
  3. Describe "target" audiences on the basis of essential characteristics and define behavior change goals appropriate to the audience.
  4. Craft theory-based messages to achieve health communication objectives including but not limited to: raising awareness, advocacy, behavior change, risk communication.
  5. Understand the strengths and weaknesses of a broad range of communication channels and technologies and be able to choose those that are most appropriate for the audience and message.
  6. Show proficiency in current e-health trends and issues and be able to conceptualize, design and evaluate web-based, user-centered health communication interventions guided by theory.
  7. Incorporate audience needs and characteristics into strategic communication plans and message design; these needs and characteristics may include literacy levels, language, culture, channel access and/or cognitive and perceptual abilities.
  8. Use program logic models to design evaluation plans and to assess the effectiveness of strategic communication campaigns.
  9. Distinguish qualitative and quantitative measures, explain the strengths and weaknesses of different study designs in terms of threats to validity, and identify and use both unobtrusive and obtrusive measures in the design of evaluation strategies.
  10. Demonstrate competence in personal communication encompassing oral, written, and non-verbal components as necessary to effectively engage in communications such as conversations, memos, and presentations appropriate to the needs and abilities of specific audiences e.g. peers, community audiences, policymakers, and science/technical experts.
  11. Understand the major ethical dilemmas faced by practitioners in health communication.