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Health at the Margins: Poverty, Communication and Health

Oct. 12, 2009 –Professor K. “Vish” Viswanath, a renowned health communication researcher and theorist, will present the Communication Department’s 23rd annual B. Aubrey Fisher Memorial Lecture, titled “Health at the Margins: Poverty, Communication and Health,” on Thursday, Oct. 22 at 7:30 p.m. in Room 1110 of the Language and Communication Building (LNCO). The event is free and open to the public.

Viswanath is an associate professor in the Department of Society, Human Development and Health at the Harvard School of Public Health. He is also a faculty member in the Center for Community-Based Research at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Director of the Health Communication Core of the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center. His address, in accordance with his award-winning research, is on the role of communication in health with a particular focus on communication inequalities and health disparities.

On Friday, Oct. 23, he will also conduct an informal seminar on the topic, “Challenges in Studying Communication Inequalities in the Digital Age,” open to the public in LNCO 2120 at 10 a.m.

“At a time when health care reform is on everyone’s mind, we are thrilled to bring Professor Viswanath to campus,” says Department Chair Ann Darling. “His attention to those most harmed by current health care practices is vital and his focus on the role that communication plays in creating and solving health care inequities is unique. This will be a very important evening for all of us.”

Viswanath was recruited to Harvard University in 2004 from the National Cancer Institute, where he served for four years as the acting associate director of the Behavioral Research Program, Division of Cancer Control and Populations Sciences.

He has written more than 90 journal articles and book chapters concerning communication and health disparities, e-health and digital divide and the delivery of health communication interventions to underserved populations. He is the co-editor of three books and editor of the Social and Behavioral Research section of the 12-volume International Encyclopedia of Communication in 2008.

Viswanath also serves as chair of the Board of Scientific Counselors for the National Center for Health Marketing at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Additionally, he will receive the Mayhew Derryberry Award from the American Public Health Association for his contribution to health education research and theory in November 2009.

The B. Aubrey Fisher Memorial Lecture was established by the Department of Communication in 1986 to recognize Fisher’s outstanding achievements as a communication scholar and to provide a forum for presenting original research and theory in communication.