Steering Committee

Steering Committee

Headshot of Alison Cahill, steering committee member for the CHC

Alison Cahill, M.D., MSCI

Professor, Department of Women's Health
Dell Medical School

Alison Cahill, MD, MSCI, is a fellowship-trained maternal-fetal medicine specialist in UT Health Austin’s Women’s Health Institute. Additionally, Dr. Cahill is a professor in the Dell Medical School Department of Women’s Health and serves as the Director of the Dell Medical School Health Translation Research Institute. Dr. Cahill is a nationally recognized scientist in the area of perinatology. She is Editor-in-Chief of the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology: Global Reports and the Senior Editor for the Society of Maternal-Fetal Medicine editions of the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. She is the Chair of the Committee on Obstetric Practice for the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology and a board examiner for the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Headshot of Rene Dailey, affiliate of the Center for Health Communication

Rene Dailey, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Department of Communication Studies
Moody College of Communication

Dr. Dailey’s interests in health communication center on how families communicate about weight management. Her research has mainly focused on how romantic partners facilitate (or hinder) individuals’ weight loss in order to develop recommendations on how family members can be incorporated into intervention programs to maximize success.

Erin Donovan

Erin Donovan, Ph.D.

Associate Director, Center for Health Communication
Associate Professor, Department of Communication Studies
Moody College of Communication

Interpersonal Communication and Health Communication are Dr. Donovan's areas of expertise. She specializes in how people communicate while coping during times characterized by stress, illness, and uncertainty. Several of her current projects address the efforts involved in managing information and relationships across the cancer trajectory, as well as navigating challenges of informed consent.

Headshot of Maya Henry, CHC steering committee member

Maya Henry, Ph.D., CCC-SLP

Associate Professor, Department of Neurology
Dell Medical School
Associate Professor, Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences
Moody College of Communication

Maya Henry, Ph.D., is an associate professor in the Department of Neurology at Dell Medical School. She is also an associate professor in the Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences at The University of Texas at Austin and director of the Aphasia Research and Treatment Lab. Her clinical and research interests are in the nature and treatment of aphasia caused by stroke and neurodegenerative disease. Funded by the NIH, Henry’s research has explored cognitive and neural bases of spoken and written language as well as the rehabilitation of language impairments associated with primary progressive aphasia.

Headshot of Mini Kahlon, steering committee member at the CHC

Maninder "Mini" Kahlon, Ph.D.

Vice Dean for Health Ecosystem
Associate Professor, Department of Population Health
Director, Factor Health
Dell Medical School

As vice dean for the Health Ecosystem, Mini Kahlon, Ph.D., drives the Dell Medical School enterprise focus on innovation to improve health outside the clinic, addressing the broader drivers of health including food and nutrition, physical activity, behavioral change, and social isolation. She also oversees Dell Med’s work to advance new health products, drugs, devices, diagnostics, and digital health tools, leveraging the diverse strengths of The University of Texas at Austin and the entrepreneurial ecosystem of Austin. Kahlon is also the founder and director of Factor Health, a platform that tests and scales programs and businesses that deliver health outside the clinic.

Brad Love

Brad Love, Ph.D.

Associate Director, Center for Health Communication
Associate Professor, Stan Richards School of Advertising and Public Relations; Center for European Studies
Moody College of Communication

Dr. Love’s primary research interests include investigating the public health capabilities of mass media, particularly for marginalized groups such as young adults affected by cancer. This includes examining the social and psychological elements necessary to improve well-being and the influence that communication can have on health outcomes.

headshot-Jennifer Lyon Gardner.jpg

Jennifer Lyon Gardner, Ph.D.

Assistant Vice President for Research
The University of Texas at Austin

Jennifer Lyon Gardner strategically oversees campus-level initiatives that promote collaborative research, including the UT Pop-Up Institutes and UT’s campus-wide research grand challenges initiative, Bridging Barriers. She leads the VPR’s Research Development team, which provides competitive intelligence and tactical proposal development support to cross-college teams of researchers pursuing center grants and other major external funding. Dr. Gardner and her team facilitate collaborative relationships among faculty through a research mentor-pairing program, and organize faculty development events that enable motivated, early-career researchers to seek advice from successful PIs. Dr. Gardner received her Ph.D. in analytical chemistry and worked as a research faculty member and unit- and college-level research development professional prior to joining the VPR office. She is also a board-certified Editor in the Life Sciences and Certified Research Administrator.

Headshot of Rachel Davis Mersey, steering committee member at the CHC

Rachel Davis Mersey, Ph.D.

Interim Dean
Associate Dean of Research
Professor, School of Journalism and Media
Moody College of Communication

Rachel Davis Mersey is Associate Dean for Research and also holds an appointment in the School of Journalism and Media. With more than a decade of experience in higher education and academic administration, she brings a passion for connecting scholarship and professional practice into grant-supported research and projects. She joins Moody College after serving at Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism, Media and Integrated Marketing Communications since 2008, most recently as associate dean for research and professor.

She is currently serving as Interim Dean of the Moody College of Communication.

Kate Pounders

Kate Pounders, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Stan Richards School of Advertising and Public Relations
Moody College of Communication

Dr. Pounders' research interest in health communication on emotional appeals, strategic message design, goal-striving, and information processing - and how these elements influence decision-making. She has examined how these elements in a variety of health contexts. She is also interested in women's health issues.

David Ring

David Ring, M.D., Ph.D.

Associate Dean for Comprehensive Care
Dell Medical School

Dr. David Ring, Associate Dean for Comprehensive Care, Dell Medical School – The University of Texas at Austin, is interested in establishing trust and engagement of people seeking care. Dr. Ring hopes to bolster resiliency and help people take an active role in their health. His work is guided by the idea that effective communication strategies are the heart of helping people get and stay healthy. He believes that satisfaction with care, adherence to recommendations, and effective self-care all hinges on trust and connection with clinicians. So when the path to good health is clear and matter-of-fact, people will take better care of themselves. They can avoid care that may do more harm than good or use resources in an unhelpful way.

Headshot of Navkiran Shokar, Chair of Population Health at Dell Medical School

Navkiran "Kiran" Shokar, M.D., MPH

Chair, Department of Population Health
Professor, Department of Population Health
Associate Dean for Community Affairs
Dell Medical School

Navkiran “Kiran” K. Shokar, M.D., MPH, is chair of the Department of Population Health, a professor of population health, and associate dean for Community Affairs at Dell Medical School at The University of Texas at Austin. In more than 20 years in academic medicine, Shokar has worked as a clinician, educator, and clinical researcher. Her research interests include interventions in cancer prevention and control, shared decision-making, and community-based research to address cancer health disparities among vulnerable, poor, and underserved populations. She has developed innovative population health approaches to bridge the divide between the community, the health care delivery system, and public health.

Anita Vangelisti, Ph.D.

Department of Communication Studies
Moody College of Communication

Anita L. Vangelisti holds the Jesse H. Jones Centennial Chair in Communication at the University of Texas at Austin. Her work focuses on the associations between communication and emotion in the context of close, personal relationships. She has published numerous articles in journals such as Communication Monographs, Human Communication Research, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Personal Relationships, and the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships. Vangelisti has edited or authored several books including the Cambridge Handbook of Personal Relationships, the Routledge Handbook of Family Communication, and Hurt Feelings in Close Relationships.

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