Health Communication (taught in English)

Universidad de Salamanca

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Health Communication (taught in English)

  • Host University

    Universidad de Salamanca

  • Location

    Salamanca, Spain

  • Area of Study

    Communication Studies, Health Science

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

    Hours & Credits

  • Contact Hours

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview

    Health Communication (taught in English)
    Health & Medical Sciences
    Universidad de Salamanca - Cursos Internacionales

    Course Description:

    Health communication is an emerging field in which professional communicators inform, influence and motivate individual, institutional, and public audiences about important health issues. This course examines the importance of how health information affects individuals, community groups, institutions and public policy. We will be focusing on the study of language and discourse about health between health care providers and patients, among health care professionals, and among members of the larger society and the media. We will discuss the influence of social, cultural and linguistic barriers on health communication, and the consequences of linguistic choices made by communicators on individual beliefs and behaviours relating to health. The field includes the study of strategic communication of evidence-based health information to professional and non- professional audiences. It also reviews strategies of persuasion, the relationship between attitudes and behaviour and the changing nature of health and health delivery, and evaluates successful and unsuccessful health information campaings.

    Educational objectives:

    1.Awareness of health communication skills and tools:

    -understanding how health communication leads people to change their health behaviours

    -examining health communication as a kind of intercultural discourse, delving into social and cultural factors influencing health communicators discourse

    -developping communication skills: examining how to create and deliver health messages through interpersonal communication between health care providers and patients and among health care professionals

    2.Knowledge of media effects and audiences uses of communications modes:

    -understanding the need for collective responsibility for health promoting interventions

    -approaching to health communication in the mass media-examining the basis of health systems including policies, organization, financing, cost-containment mesaures of rising health care costs, and principles of effective management of health care delivery

    -understanding the applications and limitations of information technology

    -familiarizing with communication strategies: design and evaluation of communication messages, campaigns and programs.

    3.Developement critical thinking

    -demonstrating a critical approach, constructive skepticism, creativity and a research- oriented attitude in professional activities.

    -understanding the power and limitations of the scientific thinking based on information obtained from different sources, in establishing the causation, treatment and prevention of disease.

    -using personal judgments for analytical and critical problem solving and seek out information rather than to wait for it to be given.

    -understanding the roles of complexity, uncertainty and probability in decisions in medical practice.

    Course requirements:

    -There is no specific textbook for the course; readings will come from a variety of sources. All articles and book chapters will be placed on electronic reserve for downloading.

    -Classes will include some lecture; however, this is primarily a discussion-based course. Students are expected to come prepared to discuss the assigned readings prior to class.

    -Assistance will be compulsory. To obtain an academic certificate a minimum of 85% is required. This percentage corresponds to a total of 3 classes in the fall semester (classes of 2 hours).

    -All students are responsible for any missed material or announcements. If you do happen to miss a class, please get the notes and/or announcements from a classmate, then see the instructor with any questions. If you plan on missing several classes due to sports, etc., please talk to your instructor the first week of class.

    -All assigned work must be completed on time. If you miss class the day an assignment is due, you should make arrangements so that the instructor receives your work before class. Please refer to the grading policy for more information.


    1. Interpersonal communication and how we talk about health

    What is health communication?

    The Nature of the Doctor-Patient Relationship: the importance of the interview

    Culture, Health and Disease

    Health communication in the aging process


    Health psychology: mental health and illness

    Health Literacy: The Gap Between Physicians and Patients

    Healthy lifestyle. Nutrition and Health

    Alternative and complementary medicines

    2. Communication among health care providers

    Health electronic appplications

    Introduction to Epidemiology for Health Communicators Ethical Issues in Medicine and Public Health Communication Research Methods for Health Communicators

    3. Health Communication on the Mass Media

    The dissemination of Public Health Information Urban Health in Developing Countries Contemporary Public Relations
    Contemporary Health Care Marketing Interactive Marketing Communications Media Relations

    Composition of Final Grade:

    The grade for this course will be comprised of:
    Participation and workshops 40%
    Final Paper 30%
    Proposal and Presentation 30%

    Grading will follow both the European numerical grading system and the North American letter system:

    9.5 - 10 = Sobresaliente = A+
    9 - 9.49 = Sobresaliente = A
    8.5 - 8.9 = Sobresaliente = A-
    8 - 8.49 = Notable = B+
    7.5 - 7.9 = Notable = B
    7 - 7.49 = Notable = B-
    6.5 - 6.9 = Aprobado = C+
    6 - 6.49 = Aprobado = C
    5 - 5.9 = Aprobado = C-

    Less than 5 = Asistencia/Fail

    NOTE: Student must attend at least 85% of class in order to pass.


    -Roter & Hall, Doctor Talking with Patients/Patients talking with Doctors

    -Morgan, The Doctor-Patient Relationship

    -Emanuel & Emanuel, Four models of the Physician-Patient relationship

    -Mishler, The struggle between the voice of Medicine and the voice of the lifeworld

    -Kreuter & McClure, The Role of Culture in Health Communication

    -Elder et al., Health Communication in the Latino community: issues and approaches

    -Harvey, et al., Health Communication & Adolescents: What do their Emails Tell Us?

    -Thompson et al., Enhacing communication with older patients in the outpatient setting.

    -Covington, et al., Schizophrenia and the Structure of Language: The Linguist's View

    -Hamilton, Language and Dementia: Sociolinguistic Aspects

    -Williams et al., The Role of Health Literacy in Patient-Physician Communication

    -Katz, et al., Patient Literacy and Question-Asking Behavior During the Medical
    Encounter: A Mixed Methods Analysis

    -Shelley et al., They Don´t Ask me So I Don´t Tell Them: Patient-Clinician
    Communication About Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Medicine

    -Bauer-Wu et al., Communicating with the public about integrative medicine
    -Len-Rios et al., Health news agenda building: journalits´perceptions of the role of public relations

    -Perkins et al., Effectiveness of social norms media marketing in reducing drinking and driving: a statewide campaign

    -Brechman et al., Lost in translation? A comparison of cancer-genetics reporting in the press release and its subsequent coverage in the press

    -Wakefield et al., Use of mass media campaigns to change health behaviours

    -Synder, Health Communication Campaigns and Their Impact on Behaviour

    -Hawn. Take two aspirin and tweet me in the morning: how twitter, facebook and other social media are reshaping health care

    -Aykas et al., Mass Media, Online Social Network, and Organ Donation: Old Mistakes and new Perspectives?

    -Robinson et al., Mass Media Health Communication Campaigns Combined with
    Health-Related Prodcut Distribution

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Eligibility for courses may be subject to a placement exam and/or pre-requisites.

Credits earned vary according to the policies of the students' home institutions. According to ISA policy and possible visa requirements, students must maintain full-time enrollment status, as determined by their home institutions, for the duration of the program.

Availability of courses is based on enrollment numbers. All students should seek pre-approval for alternate courses in the event of last minute class cancellations


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