Health Comm as an Interdisciplinary Endeavor

Health Communication as an Interdisciplinary Endeavor

By Mike Mackert

So much of the talk on any college campus, I think, is about how everyone – faculty, staff, and students – could do a better job collaborating across departments, fields, etc. Health communication is a field that in many ways requires interdisciplinary partnerships, but that fact has been very top of mind lately.

First, the Center for Health Communication (CHC) hosted former CDC Director Dr. Julie Gerberding for the McGovern Lecture in Health Communication. She spoke about leading initiatives at the CDC, and now at Merck, that cut across units. One of her keys ideas was “plan horizontally, execute vertically.” It was a good way to think about how to design interdisciplinary projects, to ensure there is a common goal in mind but every unit or group can then execute on their part of it.

Second, last Friday Dell Medical School hosted its radical collaboration research open house. I had the opportunity to speak on a panel to kick off the event, and then the CHC hosted a lounge where people interested in health communication could learn what we’re doing. It was a great event, and we made new connections with colleagues across campus that I’m excited to develop further.

Looking ahead, we’re hosting two events this week that are part of our efforts to foster new interdisciplinary partnerships. On Wednesday (October 10 from 2:30-3:30 in HLB 5.201) we will be hosting a networking event for our CHER Grant Program; it is designed to build new connections among Moody College of Communication and Dell Medical School faculty members. On Friday (October 12 from 9am-1pm in CMA 5.136) we will be hosting a grant writing workshop for the Health Communication Scholars Program; that program is designed to train graduate students interested in health communication about writing grants and awards funds to graduate student teams.

If you’re interested in interdisciplinary work and health communication, we have a monthly all-hands meeting this Wednesday (October 10 from 1-2:30pm in HLB 1.111). We will be joined by Dr. Octavio Martinez, the Executive Director of the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health. We hope to see you there!