James W. Dearing Ph.D.

James Dearing

Department Chair/Professor

  • Communication
(517) 355-3470


Jim Dearing (Ph.D., University of Southern California) is Professor and Chairperson of the Department of Communication at Michigan State University.  Dearing studies the diffusion of innovations, including the adoption and implementation of new evidence-based practices, programs and technologies. His research and teaching spans dissemination science, implementation science, program sustainability, and the psychological and sociological basis of the diffusion process. Frequently he focuses on organizational change and organizational strategy in relation to either the creation of innovations, their adaptation, or the adoption and use of innovations in organizational settings. He works with research and practice improvement teams in nursing care, water conservation, injury and fatality prevention, public health, STEM education, environmental contamination and healthcare. Dearing studied under and worked with Everett M. Rogers for 20 years.

Dearing was Senior Scientist with Kaiser Permanente, the nation's largest nongovernmental healthcare provider where he was the principal investigator for a National Cancer Institute Center of Excellence in Cancer Communication Research. Currently he collaborates in a National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences Superfund Research Center where he directs a community engagement core. Dearing was a member of the National Academy of Science/Institute of Medicine framework committee for a five-year programmatic review of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Community Guide health marketing and health communication review, and was one of two scientific advisors to the coordinating committee of the NIH Science of Dissemination and Implementation Research National Conference. He was a visiting professor at the University of Michigan, a visiting scholar at the University of California, Berkeley, and professor at Ohio University.

In 2016, Dearing was an invited speaker at events hosted by The Wallace Foundation, the Clinton Foundation, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, as well as to faculty and students of Dartmouth College, Meiji University and the University of Pittsburgh. His most recent book is Health Communication Research Measures (2016)(co-edited with Do Kyun Kim).  His recent research publications have appeared in Implementation Science, Substance Abuse, American Behavioral Scientist, Translational Behavioral Medicine, Journal of the American Medical Association Psychiatry, the Handbook of Persuasion and Social Marketing, and other outlets.

Featured Publication

R. Sam Larson, James W. Dearing, Thomas Backer (2017).  Strategies for Scaling Up Social Programs:  Pathways, Partnerships and Fidelity.  New York, NY:  The Wallace Foundation.

View Publication

New Research Grant

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Global Ideas for U.S. Solutions.  This study has the following aims:

  1. To develop a conceptual framework based in the diffusion of innovations research and practice paradigm that reflects the major challenges of identifying practical innovations that can be adapted for the U.S., and how the process of introduction into the U.S. can be designed to heighten the likelihood of interest and positive responses among potential adopters, and

  2. To apply that framework to several case studies of innovations as a means of showing how the framework can be used for making strategic decisions to trigger a diffusion process.

Research team:  James Dearing, Maria Lapinski, Soo Shin, Ali Hussain, Donald Shell

New Publications

Shannon W. Stirman and James W. Dearing (accepted for publication), “Sustainability of Cancer Practices and Programs,” in David A. Chambers, Cynthia A. Vinson, and Wynne E. Norton (Eds.), Optimizing the Cancer Control Continuum: Advancing Implementation Research. New York: Oxford University Press.

James W. Dearing, Kerk F. Kee and Winson Peng (accepted for publication), “Historical Roots of Dissemination and Implementation Science,” in Ross Brownson, Graham Colditz, and Enola Proctor (Eds.) Dissemination and Implementation Research in Health:  Translating Science to Practice, Second Edition, New York:  Oxford University Press.

James W. Dearing and Jeffrey Cox (2018), “On the Diffusion of People and Practices:  Prospects for Health Communication Research,” in Yuping Mao and Rukhsana Ahmed (Eds.), Culture, Migration, and Health Communication in a Global Context.  London, UK: Routledge, 33-44.

Contact Information

404 Wilson Rd., Room 473
Communication Arts and Sciences Building
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 48824