Research in health disparities focuses on the prevention and treatment
of local urban health problems, with strong interests in behavioral
interventions and responses to health disparities caused by cultural
and economic discontinuities that result in lack of access or inappropriate/inefficient
use of the health care system. Issues of social justice are of
special interest including access to and facilitation of informed
decision making about organ donation, cultural barriers to early
diagnosis and appropriate care, health literacy and the special
challenges of disadvantaged communities.
Health Communication and Decision Making
Promoting effective health communication and informed decision making is a major focus of departmental research. This research examines the patient-physician interface to improve health care decision making, encourage health-supporting behaviors (disease prevention), and optimize treatment appropriateness and adherence. Our focus areas include explorations of shared decision-making between consumers and clinicians, the use of decision aids by health care consumers and clinicians, effective communication and informed consent, end-of-life care, and healthy lifestyle counseling. Faculty researchers also use mass communication campaigns and apply new technologies and form new collaborations to disseminate research findings and educate the public.
Measurement and Psychometrics
Reliable and valid observation and measurement of human behavior is critical to social and behavioral sciences research. Our research focuses on scale adaptation and development and finding better and innovative methods to capture and quantify qualitative data.
Disease Prevention and Health Promotion
Research in disease prevention and health promotion paves the way for and includes interventions designed to impact behavioral and social determinants of health. Strategies for individual-level risk reduction and asset building are integrated with efforts to impact the context that shapes choices and behaviors of daily life. Members of affected populations are often engaged in the planning and implementation of this research. Narrative, cognitive skill-building, and social marketing approaches are among those used in department research.
Healthcare Areas of Interest:
- Clinical Communications
- Culturally Appropriate Care
- End-of-Life Care
- Decision Aids
- Clinical Trials
- Organ donation
- Tobacco and other drug use
- Reproductive health
- Mental health