Reducing racial inequities in HIV incidence, examining the role of communication in collaboration across professional and organizational boundaries, reducing health disparities and improving the well-being of Latino and underserved communities through health communication initiatives, and examining the ways individuals talk about health and how these conversations affect patient and partner outcomes are some of the research interests of Shawnika Hull, Yonaira Rivera, Maria Venetis, and DaJung (“DJ”) Woo, four new faculty members who will join the Department of Communication in fall, 2020.
Shawnika Hull’s research focuses on reducing racial inequities in HIV incidence through community-engaged, applied communication science. In particular, she develops, implements and evaluates theoretically grounded communication interventions focused on impacting individual and social-structural barriers to HIV prevention. This research is informed by and developed in close collaboration with community partners. Her expertise includes qualitative (i.e. focus groups) and quantitative (i.e. surveys, experiments) data collection and analytical methods. Her research has been funded through various institutional, non-profit (i.e., MAC AIDS Fund) and governmental mechanisms (i.e., NIH, CDC) and published in communication and public health journals. Her rigorous, theoretically grounded, collaborative approach to research informs health communication theorizing and practice. Hull earned her Ph.D. in Communication at the University of Pennsylvania.
Yonaira Rivera’s work focuses on reducing health disparities and improving the well-being of Latino and underserved communities through health communication initiatives. Her work uses qualitatively-driven, mixed methods and community-based participatory research to study social media health misinformation, cancer control and prevention, and disaster relief. Her work has been funded by the National Cancer Institute and the Bloomberg American Health Initiative. Yonaira joins SC&I from Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, where she completed her doctorate in Social and Behavioral Sciences. She received her Bachelor of Science in Biotechnology from Rutgers University and her Master of Public Health in Behavioral Sciences and Health Education from Emory University. She has worked at the local and federal levels, and as a community health educator focusing on cancer prevention and screening at Moffitt Cancer Center. Yonaira is originally from Puerto Rico and co-founded Puerto Rico Stands, a Baltimore-based grassroots organization committed to the long-term recovery efforts post-Hurricane María.
Maria Venetis’s interests lie at the intersection of interpersonal and health communication, and she examines how individuals talk about health. Her recent research examines how cancer patients and relational partners manage ongoing communication and how their communication embodies processes of resilience and social support. She also studies physician-patient interactions and the role of patient-centered care in promoting patient well-being. Venetis also studies disclosure strategies, examining how individuals share identity-salient information with others. Recent research includes disclosure of sexual orientation and gender identity in medical interactions and how individuals share mental health concerns with close others. Venetis is currently an associate professor of communication at Purdue University and will be joining us as a tenured Associate Professor. She received her Ph.D. from SC&I in 2010.
DaJung ("DJ") Woo
DJ Woo’s work addresses two key areas of organizational communication. The first is collaboration across organizational or professional boundaries. Her previous project examined how various government and nonprofit organizations worked together to develop a long-term regional plan. Her current project examines inter-professional communication in a hospital emergency department—specifically, how nurses, physicians, and technicians negotiate their roles and expertise to enable their temporary collaborations. The second area of her research is vocational/organizational socialization, which examines communication practices contributing to (or hindering) individuals’ sense of membership within a professional community or organization. DJ aims to connect the two areas of research and develop theory about how people from different organizational/professional backgrounds socialize each another to facilitate their collaborative work. As a field researcher, DJ collects data through directly engaging with organizations and their members (e.g., interviews and participant observations) to gain a grounded understanding of their organizational practices. DJ will join SC&I from The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, where she is an Assistant Professor of Communication Studies. DJ received her Ph.D. from the University of California, Santa Barbara.