sponsors distinguished lecture
series in Health Communication
Public Relations senior
The Health Communication concentration successfully
concluded its first "Distinguished Speaker Series" this
semester, and assistant professor Mohan Dutta-Bergman is already
planning the next one.
Five speakers from different universities shared
their fields of expertise in formal and informal settings during
This series was a way to broaden the horizons of
students by exposing them to a diverse group of experts on different
issues in health communication, as well as giving Purdue faculty
the chance to see research in other ways, said Dutta-Bergman.
Dutta-Bergman said the department and coordinators
plan on using the same model next time, but they hope to incorporate
other units of the department, such as Media Technology and Society,
and Interpersonal Communication.
Graduate student Erin Lukesh said the lecture series gave her a unique crash course in diverse theoretical orientations from a number of well-respected health scholars. "We covered everything from conversation analysis to medical ethics to media-based health promotion," she said. "I was most intrigued by the scholars' visions of what the future holds for health communication theory and practice, and I was most pleasantly surprised by the accessibility and candor of each scholar during the lectures and our office hour discussions."
Dutta-Bergman said they had lots of positive feedback
on the series. Many thanked the coordinators for giving them the
opportunity to be exposed to Health Communication through such
a broad array of perspectives.
The speakers participated in a series of activities
while at Purdue. To introduce their topics to the Purdue community
and the general public, they gave speeches at an afternoon forum.
They were treated to receptions in their honor, at which faculty
and graduate students could come and discuss issues dealing with
their research in a one-on-one setting. To conclude their visits,
the speakers gave lectures to graduate student courses.
Steve Wilson and Airhihenbuwa at reception
Among those topics discussed were: "From Theory
and Research to Practice in Health Communication with Older Adults"
by Jon Nussbaum from Pennsylvania State; "Ethics, Globalization
and Health Policy" by Daniel Callahan from Harvard Medical
School; "Communication Theory and Health Behavior Change"
by John Finnegan from University of Minnesota; "Conversation
Analysis in Health Care Setting" by John Heritage from UCLA;
and "Health and Culture: Beyond the Western Paradigm"
by Collins Airhihenbuwa from Pennsylvania State.
Health Communication became an official degree in
2001. Beth Buenger said the promise of the lecture series was
a factor in her decision to stay at Purdue to pursue a Ph.D.
"The series lived up to my expectations, providing
excellent opportunities to learn from and network with renowned
visiting scholars from a variety of health-related areas,"
she said. "I benefited from the many diverse perspectives
and gained research ideas for the future."