Communication Professors Receive Grant for Health Research

Department of Communication Professors James W. Dearing and Maria Lapinski have received a grant to better understand which effective and low-cost healthcare practices from other countries could be successful if implemented in the United States. The grant comes from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

“This grant is an exciting opportunity to bring communication research to bear on a practical problem,” said Lapinski. “Dr. Dearing has assembled a stellar group of researchers to work on the project, so it also means a chance to work with a great team.”

Due to high healthcare costs and only mid-level health outcomes, the RWJF became convinced that sourcing innovations from other countries has potential for improving health in the United States. With the grant, Dearing, Lapinski and their team plan to dig deeper into what works and what doesn’t, by determining the characteristics of successful health innovations and how those innovations can move across contexts. Their research will utilize both communication theory and real-life situations to determine which systems used abroad will be effective in the United States.

“The biggest challenge probably won’t be finding effective, low-cost ways to improve health,” said Dearing. “But rather the factors that predict demand for those innovations in U.S. communities so that these innovations are not met with a ‘not invented here’ negative response.”

The team begins its work next month.

By Katie Kochanny