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I am an Associate Professor in Health Communication and the Graduate Coordinator in the Department of Journalism and Creative Media in the College of Communication & Information Sciences at The University of Alabama (Ph.D., Brian Lamb School of Communication, Purdue University, 2012). I specialize in computational science directed at improving health behaviors through communication, networks and the role of social capital to understand how social systems influence and disrupt health behaviors. I use quantitative and qualitative methods in my research. My research program likewise includes developing and evaluating health campaigns through persuasive message design, especially focusing on health issues experienced by socially disadvantaged populations.

In my research, I pay attention to real world issues to advance theory. The issues I examine are related to chronic health, health risk situations and crises and health literacy and message design appropriate for specific communities. Moreover, I examine public online discourse about health, including the social consequences and outcomes through longitudinal social participation in groups, especially through scraping large web data sets. Much of my work is in Python. Recent projects include the following, broadly speaking:

  • Topic modeling and detection of health risks in communication and chronic health issues through the use of large web data sets
  • Longitudinal and structural changes over time in a semantic network to look at chronic health issues and the role of social support and capital
  • Impact of networks on risk behaviors by detecting patterns in communication by opinion leaders, and the role of emotion in large data sets surrounding health discourse

I collaborate with the Institute for Communication and Information Research. I am an Affiliate Faculty with the Public Opinion Lab, Affiliate Faculty with the Center for Youth Development and Intervention the at the University of Alabama, and member of the Alabama Reddit Research Group. I am active within the Health Communication Division and the Japan-U.S. Communication Association at the National Communication Association, and the International Communication Association.

I live with my husband, Dr. Brian C. Britt, Associate Professor and Associate Director of Data Analytics in the Public Opinion Lab in the College of Communication & Information Sciences, and our cat, Caramel.

Please visit the web site of my doctoral student Suyu Chou!