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Health Communication


Schulz P. J.

Course director

Bullo A.



Communication in the area of health is a central concern for policy makers, economists, and academics. Researchers who examine the impact of communication on health and health care delivery are privileged to focus upon processes of fundamental human import. The media play a key role in each of these debates and the importance of provider-patient interaction is an ever-growing concern in the dissemination of quality health care. The key question in relation to communication and health is how to maximize health outcomes through optimal communication. This course is designed to offer both a broad perspective to main topics in the field of health communication such as doctor-patient communication, health and the media, risk communication, health literacy, and e-health. In addition, this seminar will include a comprehensive review and evaluation of current theories in health communication


  • To achieve an advanced comprehension of the tenets and main research areas and topics in health communication
  • To obtain an advanced understanding of the nature and function of theories in the field of health communication
  • To become familiar with the major theories in health communication
  • To demonstrate the ability to analyze, synthesize, compare, and contrast the relevant literature in health communication

Teaching mode

In presence

Learning methods

1) Discussion of readings - A careful preparation of the provided readings is an important component of the course. Each class period will start with discussion of the readings of the sessions (see the schedule): the purpose is to stimulate critical examination and discussion of key issues in the readings. Each student is responsible for the preparation of all mandatory readings. For each paper participants have to prepare 2-3 PowerPoint slides, indicating the main claims of the paper and – optionally – questions that arise while reading the paper. These slides have to be uploaded on iCorsi before coming to class. It is expected that students will actively participate in-class discussion throughout the course and semester. We may call on students randomly during the semester to ask them to contribute their thoughts.

2) Lecture – Frontal teaching of health communication topics and theories

3) Group assignments – Students will be asked to work in small groups on assignments pertaining the contents of the frontal lecture. At the end of each group assignment, two or three groups will be asked to present their work in front of the class.

Attendance: Unexcused absence is not permitted and can lead to an exclusion from the course. Absence of two or more times requires a medical certificate.

Examination information

Course evaluation is based on class participation, preparation of readings, group assignments and a final individual paper. Weighting with respect to grades will be as follows: 

  • Individual paper: 70%. There will be a final individual paper for this course. Students will be asked to apply one of the theories seen in class to a specific health topic. More information on how to write the paper will be presented during the course.
  • Assignments and class participation: 30%. During the course, students will also be required to prepare for the mandatory readings (10%), participate during class discussion (10%) and work on group assignments (10%).

Requirements to pass the course: To successfully pass the course, students need to pass all the above described course components. Further, students can be excluded from class, resulting in a failure of the course, if they do not attend the class regularly (see “Attendance”).