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Interdisciplinary Certificate in Health Communication

Changing the Way We Communicate Health Issues

The University of Utah is the primary institution for educating health providers and ancillary professionals in the state of Utah. Health communication is a crucial concern and a top priority as the nature, forms, and functions of health care and health information shift dramatically in contemporary society.

Students earning the Interdisciplinary Certificate in Health Communication respond to that increasing interest and demand for greater awareness and understanding of health communication. Specifically, the certificate program involves the study of how communication about health is co-created, transmitted, received, constructed, and circulated in various contexts.

The certificate is available for both undergraduate and graduate students who are current University of Utah students.

Learn More

The Interdisciplinary Certificate in Health Communication is an 18-credit hour program offered by the Department of Communication. The University of Utah is the primary institution for educating health providers and ancillary professionals in the state of Utah.

Health communication is a crucial concern and currently a top priority for medical and health institutions and agencies, as the nature, forms, and functions of health care and health information shift dramatically in contemporary society. This certificate responds to that increasing interest and demand for greater awareness and understanding of health communication.

Multiple units and programs across the University include some emphasis on health communication in teaching, research, and service. However, prior to this certificate, there was no formal program for University audiences to gain and demonstrate qualifications and competencies in health communication.

Faculty in the Department of Communication created this certificate program to meet the needs of students, providers, and professionals across the institution and improve the overall quality of health communication in the state of Utah. Graduates face increasing competition for desirable jobs post-graduation. Accordingly, there is a clear need for the University of Utah to provide our students with opportunities to gain and demonstrate expertise in specialized areas. The Interdisciplinary Certificate in Health Communication helps meet that need. The certificate is available for both undergraduate and graduate students who are currently University of Utah students.

For additional information and resources regarding the study and practices of health communication, visit the Coalition for Health Communication website.

What?

What is the Interdisciplinary Certificate in Health Communication?

The Interdisciplinary Certificate in Health Communication (ICHC) is an 18-credit hour program that provides current University of Utah undergraduate and graduate students with expertise in communicating with and/or for health organizations. The program is interdisciplinary so any student can pursue it and many departments offer courses, including communication, health promotion & education, and family & preventive medicine (just to name a few).Topics covered include:

Improving doctor-patient communication, Optimizing communication across complex team structures, Crafting effective health care materials, Reaching underserved populations.

Why?

Why would I want the Interdisciplinary Certificate in Health Communication?

Students will receive a seperate diploma for completing the certificate. A designation will also appear on the student's transcript.  Many health organizations are looking for individuals with training in health communication. Despite this demand, only a few schools offer certification in health communication. Graduates of the program will be prepared for positions with health organizations (e.g., communication director for a hospital) and to participate in interdisciplinary research in health communication.

Have an application that stands out when applying for positions with hospitals, clinics, insurance companies, and health-focused non-profits.  Learn how to work with individuals across the healthcare spectrum, including researchers, doctors, nurses, and patients.  Demonstrate a commitment to interdisciplinary research and practice, the cornerstone of 21st century healthcare.

How?

How do I pursue the Interdisciplinary Certificate in Health Communication?

Students who are interested in pursuing the ICHC should review the requirements for the certificate (listed below) and begin pursuing courses.

Questions can be directed to r.e.jensen@utah.edu OR comm-advisor@utah.edu  

The certificate is open to current University of Utah students and consists of 18 credits, 6 courses total divided into 3 tiers. Undergraduate students may take any courses offered in the list. Graduate students may take any courses offered on the list that have a graduate-level designation (6000- or 7000-level). Graduate students must check with their home department requirements to determine how many certificate courses may be included in their Programs of Study.

In order to complete the certificate students must complete the course requirements listed below.  Once students have completed (or are in-progress to compete) all required courses with a 'C' or better an exit interview must be arranged with Dr. Robin Jensen by emailing r.e.jensen@utah.edu

Once the exit interview is scheduled students MUST submit the certficate completion form.

certficate completion form

This form must be completed no later than two months prior to the students anticipated graduation date.

Printable Requirements

Requirements

The certificate will consist of 18 units divided into 3 tiers, as follows:

Tier 1 (6 credits)

Required:

  • COMM 5115/6115 – Foundations of Health Communication

Choose ONE of the following courses:

  • COMM 5116/6116 – Health, Communication, and Culture
  • COMM 5117/6117 – Health Campaigns & Media 

Tier 2 (6 credits)

Choose TWO of the following courses:

  • COMM 5116/6116 – Health, Communication, and Culture
  • COMM 5117/6117 – Health Campaigns & Media
  • COMM 5118 – Health Literacy
  • COMM 5815/6815 – Special Topics in Health Communication
  • COMM 5490/6490 – Communication and Social Justice
  • COMM 5140/6140 – Communication and Aging
  • COMM 5200/6200 – Persuasion & Political Communication 
  • COMM 5350/6350 – Ethical Practices and Communication
  • COMM 5170/6170 – Issues in Organizational Communication
  • COMM 5110/6110 – Interpersonal Communication
  • COMM 5590/6590 – Integrated Marketing Communication
  • COMM 5640/6640 – Communication, Technology, and Culture
  • COMM 7XXX – COMM 7000-level courses as approved by Instructor and Advisory Committee:  FOR GRADUATE STUDENTS ONLY 

Tier 3 (6 credits)

Choose ONE HEDU course:

  • HEDU 5060 – International Health Promotion
  • HEDU 5100 – Health Care in the United States
  • HEDU 5300 – Diversity and Health
  • HEDU 5350 – Eating Disorder:  Prevention and Treatment
  • HEDU 6000 – Foundations and Theory of Health Promotion
  • HEDU 6010 – Theoretical Foundations of Health Promotion and Education
  • HEDU 6060 – Health Instruction and Communication
  • HEDU 6070 – Health Education and Technology
  • HEDU 6250 – Health Theories in Individual Behavior Change
  • HEDU 6260 – Health Theories in Group Behavior Change
  • HEDU 6540 – Health Communications
  • HEDU 6080 – Strategic Planning and Social Marketing in Health Promotion

Choose ONE of the following: 

  • ECON 5190/6190 – Health Economics
  • NURS 6772 – Quality Improvement in Health Care
  • NURS 6060 – US Health Care: Systems and Policy
  • NURS 6555- Global Issues in Women’s Health
  • NURS 6564 – Interdisciplinary Approaches to End-of-Life/Palliative Care
  • SOC 5720/6720 – Medical Sociology
  • SOC 4674/6674 – Global Health
  • FPMD 4500 – Public Health:  A Global Perspective
  • FPMD 5005 – Introduction to the Medical Profession
  • FPMD 5520 – Public Health Perspective on Surgery in the Global Context
  • FPMD 5530 – Global Health
  • FPMD 5540 – Refugees in Utah:  A Public Health Issue
  • PRT 5325 – Disabilities, Adaptation, and Accessibility in Therapeutic Recreation
  • FCS 5390 – Gender and Minorities Across the Lifespan (also ETHNC 5290 & GNDR 5390)
  • FCS 5430 – Families, Consumers, and Health
  • FCS 5630 – Healthy Communities
  • GERON 5370/6370 – Health and Optimal Aging (also HEDU 5370)
  • GERON 5220 – Caregiving and Aging Families
  • PHIL 5370 – Philosophy of Biology
  • PHIL 5510/6510 - Applied Ethics
  • PHIL 5520/6520 - Advanced Bioethics
  • POLS 5321/6321 – Health Policy
  • POLS 5570 – Management of Nonprofit Organizations
  • WRTG 5010/6010 – Medical and Health Science Discourses

The required foundational courses of Tier 1 provide students with a broad knowledge of health communication theories, contexts, and processes

The electives in Tier 2 allow students to gain additional competencies in chosen communication foci. The electives in Tier 3 provide the interdisciplinary contexts, knowledge, and competencies for students to further demonstrate mastery in the health communication area.

All courses will include normative assessment of student performance through readings, assignments, and activities that are commensurate with a graduate educational experience.

In addition to the annual program review by the Department of Communication faculty, the Advisory Committee of the ICHC will annually review courses and the program through enrollments, exit interviews, instructor feedback, and completion rates.

Primary faculty for the Interdisciplinary Certificate in Health Communication are in the Department of Communication:

Dr. Mark Bergstrom, Associate Professor
Dr. Julia Corbett, Professor
Dr. Avery Holton, Assistant Professor
Dr. Jakob Jensen, Professor 
Dr. Robin Jensen, Professor
Dr. Kimberly Kaphingst, Professor
Dr. Tae Kyoung Lee, Assistant Professor
Dr. Helene Shugart, Professor
Dr. Leona Yi-Fan Su, Assistant Professor
Dr. Ye Sun, Associate Professor
Dr. Sara Yeo, Assistant Professor

Coordinator

Professor Robin Jensen of the Department of Communication serves as Coordinator of the certificate program.

Advisory Committee

The Advisory Committee will consist of three members from the Department of Communication and two members from involved programs. Initial members include:

Dr. Mark Bergstrom, Associate Professor, Communication
Dr. Helene Shugart, Professor, Communication
Dr. Jakob Jensen, Professor, Communication 
Dr. Kimberly Kaphingst, Professor, Communication
Marty C. Malheiro, Clinical Instructor, Pharmacotherapy, Utah Poison Control Center
Les Chatelain, Interim Chair, Health Promotion & Education

Contact Us

General questions about the ICHC may be sent to the Program Coordinator, Dr. Robin Jensen, at r.e.jensen@utah.edu. Specific questions for the undergraduate and graduate certificates may be sent to the advisor listed below.

Cameron Vakilian
Academic Advisor
cameron.vakilian@utah.edu or comm-advisor@utah.edu 

255 South Central Campus Drive, Room 2400
Salt Lake City, UT 84112
(801) 581-6888

Last Updated: 7/17/18