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Intercultural and International Communication

Health Communication Concentration

Below are questions about this concentration.

Global changes in migratory patterns, the increasing health inequalities faced by the poor, immigrant, refugee, and underserved populations in the United States and around the world, and the health risks faced by communities at the margins of global societies have drawn attention to the relevance of studying culture in order to understand health and health communication processes across global cultures. Boundaries that traditionally separate “international” from “domestic” health theory, policy, and practice represent false dichotomies due to the interconnected and dynamic nature of global health challenges. The Health Communication concentration offers a culture-centered approach to health communication. There is no need to have a scientific biomedical background.   

Global health is a critical area of focus in interstate and transnational relations. The era of constant cross-border flows of peoples and globalization forces means that local, national, and global arenas no longer are as distinct as before. As such, issues and challenges of health disparities that confront different communities require multi- and interdisciplinary approaches, of which culturally appropriate health communication perspectives and strategies are vital to the crafting of viable solutions. One exemplar of these approaches in practice is a multidisciplinary graduate-level course that Dr. De Jesus developed and taught, "Global health culture and communication." Dr. De Jesus’ course strategically and pointedly connects health to the key dimensions of race, ethnicity, gender, class, culture, immigration, communication and inequity.   

Many of the applied skills and theoretical approaches learned in this concentration are translatable to other areas beyond health. Health Communications theories cut across disciplines: public health, communication, psychology, anthropology, sociology, ethnic studies, religion, education and urban studies. As such, a concentration in Health Communications will prepare one to work on intervention development, audience-centered health messages, culturally tailored health communications flyers, and media health campaigns. One will also discover strategies on how best to capture the attention of the target audience, convey a health message that resonates with the audience, and ultimately enhance individual, family, and/or community health.   

How do I learn more?

Please contact Karen Ives, at ICSIS@american.edu, to learn more about this concentration.