For nearly 15 years, associate professor of advertising and public relations Bree Holtz has explored how individuals combine information and communication technology to help lead healthier lives. While much of her study focuses on telemedicine and telehealth in rural northern Michigan, it wasn’t until the pandemic that her research in this area escalated because of increased interest and use.
“Telemedicine allows individuals to access the healthcare that they need, particularly in areas where there are shortages or limited availability of physicians, specialists and hospital beds,” Holtz said. “The pandemic brought that into clear focus, as well as the fact that the infrastructure in many rural areas wasn’t prepared to handle the intense need.”
In addition to her teaching and research, Holtz directs the Health and Risk Communication Master’s Program at ComArtSci. She’s excited about the prospect of broadening her scope and delving into policy issues related to telemedicine and telehealth through her membership in the Rural Computing Research Consortium.
“The consortium sounded like a great opportunity to meet and share ideas with other researchers who have different perspectives,” Holtz said. “While I have a sense of what’s happening in my studied populations, it’s exciting to put a new twist on my research by networking with others who have public policy expertise and extensive knowledge of rural communities.”
Holtz is looking ahead to forge research partnerships with other members of the consortium, particularly related to policies and economic aspects that affect mHealth, ICT technologies, and high-tech infrastructure in remote areas.
“It’s great to have this opportunity to join a group of researchers with like-minded interests to help research and build necessary infrastructure,” Holtz said. “The consortium provides a way to tie it all together by looking at different aspects of people’s lives, how they live, and how we can best serve their communities—all in keeping with MSU’s land-grant mission.”
Learn more about the research being done at the consortium.
By Ann Kammerer