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Public Health 242: Health Communication

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Research Librarian for the Health Sciences, Medicine, Pharmacology/Pharmaceutical Sciences, Public Health AND Interim Research Librarian for Biological Sciences

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Hector R. Perez-Gilbe
He, Him, His
UC Irvine
Science Library
Room 232
Irvine, CA 92623
(949) 824-6957

Health Communication Background

Health Communication has become critical in many every-day ways in addition to the academic construct of funding priorities by the NIH.  The context will be shaped by the general communications realm couched in the need for more effective health literacy that is now multi-dimensional carrying on in multiple formats and media channels, and exacerbated by the political environment we are in with competing demands for more open access, a reliance on evidence-based practices, more personalized health or patient-centered opportunities, emerging technologies, a reliance on social media for sharing information, an emphasis on consumer health, and hosts of other issues.

Resources for this class will come from several different disciplines: Evaluation Science, Communications, Public Health, Health Economics & Management, Medicine, and others.  A new body of literature is emerging that responds to the issues of physical health, emotional & mental health, telemedicine & mobile health, interpersonal communication, clinical takeover, managing health, health disparities, environmental & health impacts, etc. 

The digital environment certainly has changed how health communication is conducted, especially with new strategies coming along almost daily that promote new ways to reach different segments of the public.

Key eBook Resources

The primary subject headings for this topic are:

  • Communication in medicine (LCSH)
  • Health promotion
  • Mass media in health care
  • Health communications (MESH)

When searching for books/eBooks, one will also retrieve government documents from the local, state, federal and international arena.  In addition, there are databases for Government Information for US Federal documents or from the WHO, or other jurisdictions such as OECD, etc.  When browsing, one may want to review the WA 590a and the WC 503s for books and other materials.

There are many reference sources that cover this topic.  Among them are the following:

Key Databases

There are many databases that will index the journal and conference papers literature and government information.  In addition to the following list, please consult the Public Health Subject Guide for additional resources.  Please use the eLinks function to determine if UCI has the fulltext article either online or in print.  If no eLink is available, please check Library Search by the title of the source of the article or paper.  If the source is not available, please check Melvyl and reset to UC Libraries to see if it is available via ILL from another UC campus by using the REQUEST icon.

Specific Publishers

Several publishers come to mind when researching in this subject area:

  • National Academies Press (NAP)
  • Taylor & Francis
  • Sage
  • Springer
  • Wiley
  • medical textbooks

Evaluating Resources & Information

How to evaluate health campaigns is not easy, appears random but is very outcome oriented.  The following resources will keep you focused on effectiveness and other measures that define quality control.

The list of journals indexed in PubMed are divided up as noted in the NLM Catalog

Also, the Social Context Influences of Interpersonal Health Communication (hints briefs, #14 (2009) from the National Cancer Institute) highlight the Structural Influence Model (SIM) of Communication Inequality  as a way of framing health communication outcomes.  Other reports from the Health Information National Trends Survey are recommended.

Health Campaigns

Health campaigns are conducted on many topics and may include:  Smoking cessation, HIV testing, binge drinking, becoming better informed about effects of different exhibited symptoms, promoting health insurance coverage, and scores of other critical subjects.  Sources of such topics include:

Key Journals that publish on health communication campaigns

These OA journals cover global submissions on related topics: