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University of Colorado Denver College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

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Degree Requirements

Health Communication


From the time we are born to the time we die, health remains a core part of human life. Health and medicine are growing fields in the United States, which spends 16% of its GDP on health care. The strategic importance of effective communication in health care settings cannot be understated. In recognition of the critical importance of communication to health and wellness, the Department of Communication's Health Communication Pathway is one of nine core pathways available to undergraduate Communication majors and graduate students.

The Health Communication Pathway provides students with a theoretically rich and practically relevant education in how health messages are cultivated, negotiated and understood across a wide range of communication contexts spanning intrapersonal communication to the mass media. The Health Communication Pathway serves as a gateway for internships and careers related to health and medicine, and furthers the department's mission to guide students toward developing the skills, knowledge and abilities necessary to use communication to create a more civil and humane world.

Faculty members who actively research and teach in the Health Communication Pathway include Professors Lisa Keränen, Barbara Walkosz (emeritus), James Stratman and Yvette Bueno-Olson. Both professors and adjunct professionals teach courses in related areas.

  • Health care public relations specialist
  • Public health communication specialist for local, state or federal agencies
  • Pharmaceutical representative (with additional training)
  • Health campaign designer
  • Health marketing specialist
  • Health care human resources manager
  • Communication specialist for health care nonprofits
  • Patient representative
  • Wellness message coordinator
  • Health or medical writer

In order to help meet their professional objectives, students also undertake health-related internships and a health-related capstone course, and consider volunteering at local health care-related providers.

  • 3275 Family Communication 
  • 4240 Organizational Communication  
  • 4500 Health Communication
  • 4550 Rhetoric of Medicine and Health
  • 4620 Health Risk Communication

And see the classes available from other departments under the Health Humanities Minor

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): www.cdc.gov/

CDC Global Health Communication: http://www.cdc.gov/HealthMarketing/ihm.htm

National Library of Medicine: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/

National Institutes of Health (NIH): http://nih.gov

CDC Newsroom: http://www.cdc.gov/media/

WebMD: http://www.webmd.com

Mayo Clinic: http://mayoclinic.com

Yahoo Health: http://health.yahoo.com