Course Form (revised 8-2009)

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Course Form (revised 8-2009)

I. Summary of Proposed Changes

Dept / Program

Communication Studies

Prefix and Course #

COMM 425

Course Title

Communication in Health Organizations

Short Title (max. 26 characters incl. spaces)

Comm in Health Orgs

Summarize the change(s) proposed

From COMM 495 to COMM 425

II. Endorsement/Approvals
Complete the form and obtain signatures before submitting to Faculty Senate Office

Please type / print name




Joel Iverson


Phone/ email :


Program Chair/Director:

Steve Schwarze, Chair

Other affected programs


III: To Add a New Course Syllabus and assessment information is required (paste syllabus into section V or attach). Course should have internal coherence and clear focus.

Common Course Numbering Review: Does an equivalent course exist elsewhere in the MUS? Do the proposed abbreviation, number, title and credits align with existing course(s)? Please indicate equivalent course/campus ß



Exact entry to appear in the next catalog (Specify course abbreviation, level, number, title, credits, repeatability (if applicable), frequency of offering, prerequisites, and a brief description.) ß

UG 425 Communication and Health Organizations 3cr. Offered every other year. This course explores the key issues at the intersection of health communication and organizational communication by considering communication processes that occur in a number of distinct contexts of health organizations. Through case studies and health campaigns students explore contemporary concerns and theory in the area of health communication.

Justification: How does the course fit with the existing curriculum? Why is it needed?

This course provides an extension of the organizational communication option by introducing students to a major component of the communication discipline: health communication. Additionally, this course offers interdisciplinary opportunities for other health fields on this campus.

Are there curricular adjustments to accommodate teaching this course?      


Complete for UG courses. (UG courses should be assigned a 400 number).
Describe graduate increment (Reference guidelines:ß

The graduate component includes a more rigorous introduction to the field of health communication as well as graduate level writing assignments including, but not limited to a practical project raising health awareness through a health campaign, a major review of literature in an are of speciality, or a proposal of research.

Fees may be requested only for courses meeting specific conditions determined by the Board of Regents. Please indicate whether this course will be considered for a fee.




If YES, what is the proposed amount of the fee?


IV. To Delete or Change an Existing Course – check X all that apply




Course Number Change


Level U, UG, G




Description Change


Change in Credits

From: 2

Cross Listing (primary program initiates form)

To: 1


Is there a fee associated with the course?


1. Current course information at it appears in catalog ( ß

2. Full and exact entry (as proposed) ß


3. If cross-listed course: secondary program & course number

4. Is this a course with MUS Common Course Numbering? If yes, then will this change eliminate the course’s common course status? Please explain below.


5. Graduate increment if level of course is changed to UG. Reference guidelines at:
(syllabus required in section V)

Have you reviewed the graduate increment
guidelines? Please check (X) space provided.

6. Other programs affected by the change


7. Justification for proposed change

V. Syllabus/Assessment Information

Required for new courses and course change from U to UG. Paste syllabus in field below or attach and send digital copy with form.ß

COMM 495

Communication in Health Organizations

JRH 204 9:40-11:00 T TH

Prerequisites: None

Instructor: Dr. Joel Iverson Phone: 243.4426

Office: L.A. 359 E-mail:

Office Hours: Tuesday 8:30-9:30 and 12:30-1:30 as well as a moderately open schedule to meet by appt. Another note on communication – I do not perpetually check email, but do so most work days. I also consider answering an email question in class as a sufficient answer.

Course Description and Objectives

This course will provide students with an overview of key issues at the intersection of health communication and organizational communication by considering communication processes that occur in a number of distinct contexts including health care organizations and occupational safety. This course is designed to introduce students to theory, research, and contemporary concerns in the area of health communication. As a survey course, it will explore a wide range of topics – the emphasis will be on introducing students to the breadth of issues in health communication rather than delving into any particular issue in great depth. Thus, we will consider issues including patient-provider interaction, social support, construction of illness meanings, media representations of health, health care organizations, health campaigns, risk and crisis communication, technology, and health care policy. Students should consider the course requirements, subject matter, paper deadlines, etc., before making a decision to take the course this semester. It is especially important to consider the assignments described below.

Only the Highest of Expectations

In this class we strive for educational excellence through an environment that is participative, informative, collaborative, and other important “ative” words that are consistent with pedagogical superiority. As a result we will all strive to achieve excellence, because the alternative is poor form.

Required Texts

Wright, K.B., Sparks, L. & O’Hair, D. (2008). Health communication in the 21st century. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing.

Additionally, we will have some PDF readings that will be available on the Moodle system for this class such as:

Cegala, D.J., Street, R.L., Jr., & Clinch, C.R. (2007). The impact of patient participation on physicians’ information provision during a primary care medical interview. Health Communication, 21, 177-185.

Eggly, S. (2002). Physician-patient co-construction of illness narratives in the medical interview. Health Communication, 14, 339-360.

Ho, E. Y., & Bylund, C. L. (2008). Models of health and models of interaction in the practitioner-client relationship in acupuncture. Health Communication, 23, 506-515.

Hsieh, E. (2006). Understanding medical interpreters: Reconceptualizing bilingual health communication. Health Communication, 20, 177-186.

Miller, K., Shoemaker, M. M., Willyard, J., & Addison, P. A. (2008). Providing care for elderly parents: A structurational approach to family caregiver identity. Journal of Family Communication, 8, 19-43.

Ragan, S. L., Wittenberg, E., & Hall, H. T. (2003). The communication of palliative care for the elderly cancer patient. Health Communication, 15, 219-226.

Freimuth, V. S. (2006). Order out of chaos: The self-organization of communication following the anthrax attacks. Health Communication, 20, 141-148.

Rimal, R. N., & Morrison, D. (2006). A uniqueness to personal threat (UPT) hypothesis: How similarity affects perceptions of susceptibility and severity in risk assessment. Health Communication, 20, 209-219.

Campo, S., & Mastin, T. (2007). Placing the burden on the individual: Overweight and obesity in African American and mainstream women’s magazines. Health Communication, 22, 229-240.

Gill, A., & Babrow, A. S. (2007). To hope or to know: Coping with uncertainty and ambivalence in women’s magazine breast cancer articles. Journal of Applied Communication Research, 35, 133-155.

Cho, H., & Salmon, C. T. (2006). Fear appeals for individuals in different stages of change: Intended and unintended effects and implications on public health campaigns. Health Communication, 20, 91-99.

Stephenson, M. T., Quick, B. L., Atkinson, J., & Tschida, D. A. (2005). Authoritative parenting and drug-prevention practices: Implications for antidrug ads for parents. Health Communication, 17, 301-321.

Dutta, M. J., & Feng, M. J. (2005). Health orientation and disease state as predictors of online health support group use. Health Communication, 22, 181-189.

Rotter, D. L., Larson, S., Sands, D. Z., Ford, D. E., & Houston, T. (2008). Can e-mail messages between patients and physicians be patient-centered? Health Communication, 23, 80-86.

The politics of breathing: Asthmatic Medicaid patients under managed care. Journal of Applied Communication Research, 29, 97-116.

Other Minor Things (Like Grades)


Health Narrative: This is a short paper that where you analyze a health issue through the brief telling and reflection upon a story. This story can be personal, one you interact with or one you find through other means. More details to follow.

Major Project: You will construct a major project in this class. You are asked (in a group) to choose a specific health-related topic, and develop health campaign some aspect of that topic educates a specific audience about a specific health issue. The first step of this journey will be selecting a topic and reviewing the formative research about the topic that helps you map out issues that you believe are particularly important. This will involve an attempt to narrow down your topic into a more specific topic that could lead you to specific recommendations. Then, you should use this more narrowly defined topic to construct a campaign portfolio that consists of:

A review of health facts regarding this issue

Strategic messages delivered through various media

An analysis of the choices made

Goals of project

Presentation of campaign to class

Celebrations of Knowledge: We will have two celebrations of knowledge that will reflect what you have learned and what you think. It will be a great combination of question styles including short answer and essay that will give you the opportunity to make an argument based on the materials.

Graduate Component: If you are taking this course for graduate credit we will be meeting independently at the beginning of the semester to discuss your additional requirements including 1. an outside literature review project or health promotion campaign complete with presentation to the rest of the class; 2. A set of additional readings related to your individual interests.
Points: Yes, I hope to make them and I know you do also:
Celebration #1 1000 points Grades are on a percentage:

Celebration #2 1000 points 90% for an A

Narrative 500 points 80% for a B

Campaign proposal 400 points 70% for a C

Final Project 900 points 60% for a D

Daily Participation 200 points Below 60% for an F

Total 4000 points
Other Other Stuff (Like Policies)

Attendance, Participation, and Preparation. It is expected that you will attend class every day and be an active participant in class discussion. It is also expected that you will complete the readings for the class before the class period. Because this is an honors class, I do not anticipate any problems with issues of attendance, participation, and preparation and have not assigned “points” to any of these behaviors. However, I would anticipate that performance in other aspects of the course will be correlated with issues of attendance, participation, and preparation.

MOODLE: I will post rough outlines of ideas on Moodle, however it is your responsibility to attend class to take notes from lecture and class discussion. If you miss class and want notes, you will have to rely on the kindness of a classmate. Moodlewill only be used to post grades and for some basic notes.

PLAGIARISM/CHEATING: Plagiarism and any other unethical behavior will not be tolerated. You are expected to hold to the Code of Conduct.

LATE WORK: Exams can only be made up due to university activities or illness serious enough to warrant a medical appointment. A makeup exam can be arranged with me within one week of the exam date. One make up time will be scheduled for all who need to make up the exam. This exam may differ in format to preserve examination integrity.

PRIVACY: An individual student’s grade is a private matter. When papers or other materials are returned to the students, other students do not have the right to ask, “What did you get?” An individual may offer personal information, but that is the individual’s choice. Please note as well that instructors are not able to discuss one person’s grade with another student, email grades, or give grades over the phone pursuant to the Buckley Amendment.


1. Academic misconduct is subject to an academic penalty by the course instructor and/or a disciplinary sanction by the University.

2. All students must be familiar with the Student Conduct Code. The Code is available for review online at

3. All celebrations of knowledge will be taken on the assigned date

4. Electronics: When you come into class, please, be sure your cell phone, fax, or any other electronic device is turned off as it may interfere with the navigation of this classroom. If your phone, etc. rings do not answer, just turn it off. If you are anticipating an emergency call, let me know prior to class and we will work that out.
SPECIAL NEEDS/SERVICES: The University provides academic resources to those who have specific needs. I am more than willing to assist with those programs. If you have questions or concerns, please see me.
Tentative Schedule

January 25 Introduction, Syllabus and other fun

27 Overview of Health Comm Reading 1

Patient – Provider Communication

Feb 1 More Overview Chapter 1

3 PP Intro and Notes Chapter 2

Reading 1 (Cegala, Street &Clinch)

8 Finishing Patient-Provider/Narrative Reading 2 (Eggly)

Reading 3 (Sharf et al)


10 Culture and Patient-Provider pp. 101-107

15 Models of Culture and Comm / Reading 4 (Ho and Bylund)

Medical Interpreters Reading 5 (Hsieh)

17 Culture pp. 107-125 and rest of Chapter 5

Reconstructing health in Culture Reading 5 (Arrington)


22 Caregiving and Health Comm Chapter 3

Narratives Due

24 Caregiving and Organizing Reading 6 (Miller et al.)

Finish Caregiving and Organizing

March 1 Celebration #1

Campaigns and social support

3 Social Support Chapter 4

8 Introducing campaigns Chapter 10

10 Campaigns Reading 7 (Stephenson)

15 More Campaigns Reading 8 (Quick)

17 Community and Media Reading 9 (Stephenson/La Pastina)

22 Media Analysis Chapter 8

Organizing Health Care

24 Healthcare organizing Chapter 6

Routinization and Care Reading 10 (Ellingson)

29 Organizations and Health Reading 11 (Barbour)

Project Research Due

31 Technology Chapter 7

Tech and organizing Reading 12 (CT Scanners maybe)

5,7 Spring Break

Risk, Campaigns

12 Risk and Crisis Chapter 9

Risk communicated Reading 13 (Friemuth)

14 Food, Health and outbreak Computer Day

19 Teams Chapter 11

21 Emerging Contexts Chapter 12

26 Review/Presentation preparation

28 Celebration #2

May 3 Presentations All Portfolios Due

5 Presentations

Final Friday, May 13, 8- 10:00 Presentations

VI Department Summary (Required if several forms are submitted) In a separate document list course number, title, and proposed change for all proposals.

VII Copies and Electronic Submission. After approval, submit original, one copy, summary of proposals and electronic file to the Faculty Senate Office, UH 221,

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