Lisa Mikesell


Associate Professor of Communication


191 College Avenue, Room 101A

Lisa Mikesell examines the situated communication practices of individuals diagnosed with neurological and psychiatric disorders to provide a grounded perspective on competence and patient engagement; clinical work practices to consider applications of patient-centeredness and shared decision-making; and the use of decision support strategies and health information technology in clinic communication.


Semel Institute Center for Health Services and Society, University of California, Los Angeles

University of California, Los Angeles

University of California, Los Angeles

University of Pennsylvania


Lisa Mikesell uses mixed methods to investigate the communication and social practices used to negotiate interactions in a variety of health and mental health contexts. Her scholarship consists of three intertwining threads guided by her interest in patient engagement in real world contexts. 

The first thread is situated in the community and reconceptualizes the notion of communicative competence by centering on what patients do in their everyday lives. Much of this work examines the situated communication practices of individuals diagnosed with neurological and psychiatric disorders to provide a grounded perspective on everyday functioning and community participation.

The second thread is situated in the clinic and is informed by her work in the community reconceptualizing competence. She also examines clinical work practices and clinical reasoning to consider applications of patient-centered constructs such as shared decision making. These first two threads weave together a situated understanding of the “everyday-ness” of an individual’s functioning—which is often neglected or misunderstood—with an understanding of what happens in the clinic.

The final thread considers the societal need for patient participation in the collective sense, namely how to reach and work with patient communities to pose more relevant research questions and develop more sensitive research strategies to better serve patient populations and better assist caregivers and clinicians. Her work informs our understanding of best practices, intervention development, and implementation, and therefore contains a strong applied component, particularly to inquiry in health services.

Centers, Labs, Working Groups, and Clusters

Selected Publications

Mikesell, L., Bromley, E., & Khodyakov, D. (2013). Ethical community-engaged research: A literature review. American Journal of Public Health, 103(12), e7-e14.

Mikesell, L., Bromley, E., Young, A. S., Vona, P., & Zima, B. (2016). Integrating client and clinician perspectives on psychotropic medication treatment: Developing a communication-centered epistemic model of shared-decision making for mental health contexts. Health Communication31(6), 707-717. 

Mikesell, L., Marti, A., Guzmán, J. R., McCreary, M., & Zima, B.  (2018). Affordances of mHealth technology and the structuring of clinic communication. Journal of Applied Communication Research, 46(3), 323-347

Mikesell, L. (2020). Does atypicality entail impairment? Tracing a cohesive marker in the interactions of an individual with schizophrenia. In R. Wilkinson, J. Rae, & G. Rasmussen (Eds.), Atypical interaction:  Impacts of communicative impairments within everyday talk (pp. 129-160). Cham, Switzerland: Cham, Switzerland: Palgrave. 

Mikesell, L., Marti, A. F., Guzmán, J. R., McCreary, M., & Zima, B. (2020). Attending to parent and child rights to make medication decisions during pediatric psychiatry visits. In E. H. Weiste, Stevanovic, M. T., & C. C. Lindholm (Eds.), Joint decision making in mental health: Participation and choice in face-to-face interactional encounters (pp. 69-94)Palgrave. 

Awards & Recognitions

Top paper award, NCA LSI Division. "The use of directives to repair embodied (mis)understandings in interactions with individuals diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia." National Communication Association. Philadelphia, PA, 2016

Master of Communication and Information Studies (MCIS) Graduate Student Association Award for Teaching, Rutgers University, 2016

Distinguished Achievement in Research Award, Department of Communication, Rutgers School of Communication and Information, 2015

Child Intervention, Prevention, and Services (CHIPS) Institute Fellow (funded by the NIMH Division of Services and Intervention Research (DSIR))

American Dissertation Fellowship recipient, awarded by the American Association of University Women (AAUW), 2008

Faculty Fellow, Rutgers University Center for Cultural Analysis (CCA) in Medical Humanities

Research Keywords