Researchers affiliated with the Center for Health and Risk Communication come from several departments across campus including communication, public health, journalism and mass communication, psychology, sociology, and economics.

Dr. Sun Joo (Grace) Ahn, Assistant Professor, Advertising & Public Relations, Grady College

Grace AhnDr. Ahn is an Assistant Professor in the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication Department of Advertising and Public Relations, and founding director of the Games and Virtual Environments Lab. Her research investigates how digital media transform traditional rules of persuasive communication, shaping the way that people feel, think, and behave in the physical world. Her ongoing projects include the use of digital media technology such as social media, video games, and immersive virtual environments as tools of persuasion, and whether the effect of these virtual interactions will transfer into the physical world to influence the cognition, emotion, and ultimately the behavior of their users.

Dr. Michael A. Cacciatore, Assistant Professor, Department of Advertising and Public Relations


Dr. Michael Cacciatore, assistant professor in the the Department of Advertising and Public Relations, teaches research methodology and introduction to public relations. His research examined the communication of risk topics ranging from nanotechnology to food safety to global climate change. Much of his research has tracked media depictions of risk issues, paying close attention to the role of social media in the communication of risk topics. Other research he’s done concentrates directly on the interplay between media, values and risk in public opinion eye. Dr. Cacciatore work is published in Public Understanding of Science, Energy Policy, New Media & Society, and the Journal of Nanoparticle Research.

Dr. Celeste Condit, Professor, Department of Speech Communication

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A Distinguished Research Professor, Dr. Celeste Condit serves the University of Georgia and her department with knowledge and experience. Her research centers on rhetorical understandings of the impact oof genetic technologies and human reproduction. Using innovative teaching methods, Dr. Condit takes a hands-on style. Embracing a role-playing approach in teaching “Reacting to the Past” in Communication in Government and Communication and Social Movements, she brings real social issues to light for her students. For further proof of her genius and dedicated passion to her work, she created the Condit’s Attic page. Unpublished papers and workshop notes related to biosymbolic approach to understanding human interaction are archived here and available for reading.

Dr. Brenda Cude, Professor, Department of Housing and Consumer Economics

CudeDistinguished Professor of Housing and Consumer Economics, Dr. Brenda Cude’s research interests focus on how consumers acquire and use information before making a buying decision. This focus has recently been applied in researching college students’ financial literacy. Her second area of fascinated interest is with the quality and quantity of online information. Professor Cude brings her expertise to the table when she debates about online transactions while representing the consumer perspective in policy discussions. Teaching primarily upper division and graduate courses, Dr. Cude’s instruction are: Money Skills for Life, Research Development I and II courses in online consumer behavior and financial literacy. She is the Director of UGA’s Center for Economic Education, and, Director of Research at the UGA Housing and Demographics Research Center. Most of her research has been conducted online.

Dr. Nathaniel J. Evans, Assistant Professor, Advertising & Public Relations, Grady College

Nate EvansDr. Nathaniel J. Evans is an assistant professor in Grady College’s Department of Advertising and Public Relations at the University of Georgia where he teaches advertising and society, advertising management, and introductory advertising courses at the graduate and undergraduate level. Dr. Evans’ research examines the blurring of boundaries between entertainment and commercial content, and the impact on issues related to consumer information processing, evaluation, and policy. He uses experimental and survey methodology to examine consumers’ information processing, evaluation, and behavioral outcomes of exposure to in-game advertising, advergames, branded games, native advertising, and other immersive or covert advertising formats. His research has examined regulatory and policy related topics in advertising, marketing, communication and health. Dr. Evans’ published work is featured in the Journal of Advertising, Journal of Interactive Advertising, Journal of Current Issues and Research in Advertising,Journal of Consumer Affairs, Health Affairs, and Television and New Media.

Dr. Jeong-Yeob Han, Assistant Professor, Telecommunications

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Dr. Jeong-Yeob Han teaches communication theory, research methods, and technology and health at the University of Georgia. His research focus is on health communication and technology, new media effects, and research methods and design. Dr. Han’s main research concerns are: the design of interactive health communication campaign, the benefits of online social support groups for cancer and other health related problems, and statistical methods and research design. He has developed research programs and published articles presenting the research he’s conducted. Found in public health journals like: Health Communication, International Journal of Medical Informatics, and Computers in Human Health, Dr. Han is an innovative educator and researcher at the University of Georgia.

Dr. Tina Harris, Associate Professor, Department of Speech Communication

harrisDr. Tina Harris is a passionate, innovative professor who teaches communication in the Department of Communications Studies at the University of Georgia. Committed to her career, she excels in Interpersonal, Interracial, and Intercultural Communications, Textual Analysis, and Cinema. She has been recognized for her hard work and was selected as the 2010 recipient of UGA’s Josiah Meigs Distinguished Teaching Professorship, the university’s highest teaching honor. Her passion for her students and what she teaches is an asset to the University. Dr. Harris has recently been involved in the assessment of public attitudes about race, genetics, and religious frameworks based on forty-two focus groups.

Dr. Karen Hilyard, Assistant Professor, Health Promotion & Behavior, College of Public Health

Dr. Karen HilyardDr. Karen M. Hilyard, Assistant Professor of Health Communication in the Department of Health Promotion and Behavior at the University of Georgia, has brought over fifteen years of diverse work experience as a journalist to UGA. Combining her knowledge of health behavior and decision-making in media and public relations, Dr. Hilyard has the ability to teach both students and practitioners how to effectively communicate with their audience. She is a certified trainer for the CDC’s Crisis and Emergency Risk Communication program (CERC), and presents her research at major academic and industry conferences. Dr. Hilyard’s multiple focuses remain on: Health communication related to pandemic flu, vaccine behavior and infectious disease, crisis and emergency risk communication and planning, social marketing of public health, and communication and health disparities. Published several times, find her articles in Journal of Children and Media, Prism, and Health Education and Behavior.

Dr. Su-I Hou, Associate Professor, Health Promotion & Behavior

houDr. Su-I Hou is associate professor of health promotion and behavior at the University of Georgia College of Public Health. Her mission is to promote scholarly and cultural awareness through experience and knowledge. She also has worked for a positive collaboration between the United States and China through networking and organizational activities. Dr. Hou directs the UGA College of Public Health’s Taiwan Study Abroad Program and has used her influence to increase UGA’s outreach activities to China. Dr. Hou’s research focuses on community and worksite strategies promoting early detection and prevention of HIV/AIDS and certain types of cancer. Her current interests lie in eHealth and online health promotion and communication.

Dr. Yan Jin, Associate Professor, Public Relations

YanJinDr. Yan Jin is an Associate Professor of Public Relations and associate director of the Grady College’s Center for Health and Risk Communication. Prior to joining the University of Georgia, Dr. Jin was an Associate Professor of Public Relations at the Virginia Commonwealth University, where she founded the Center for Media+Health and served as its inaugural executive director. Dr. Jin has taught undergraduate and graduate public relations and research methods courses. Her research interest is in the area of crisis communication and strategic conflict management, as well as how emotions influence organizational decision making and publics’ responses. Dr. Jin has authored numerous refereed journal articles and book chapters. Her work was published in The Handbook of Crisis Communication, Communication Research, Journal of Applied Communication Research, Journalism and Mass Communications Quarterly, Journal of Public Relations Research, Public Relations Review, and Journal of Contingency and Crisis Management, etc. She is the co-editor of the book, Social Media and Crisis Communication, to be published by Routledge. Dr. Jin’s research activities on public relations leadership, crisis management, and strategic health communication have been funded by the Plank Center for Leadership in Public Relations, the National Institutes of Health, the C. R. Anderson Research Foundation, and the Arthur W. Page Center for Integrity in Public Communication. Dr. Jin is an academic advisor of the Corporate Communications International (CCI) and serves on the national research committee of the Association for Business Communication (ABC). In 2014, Dr. Jin was selected as the recipient of the Krieghbaum Under-40 Award by the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) for her overall achievement in teaching, research and public service. Dr. Jin earned her B.A. in Advertising from Peking University (Beijing,China), and her M.A. and Ph.D. in Journalism, as well as M.A. in Statistics (Minor), from the University of Missouri-Columbia.

Dr. Karen King, Professor And Department Head, Grady College

KingDepartment head and advertising professor at the University of Georgia, Dr. Karen King’s teaching specialties cover media planning, advertising account planning/research and advertising campaigns. She coauthored Media Buying Simulation, a textbook supplement, and is a member of the Graduate Faculty. Dr. King’s research focuses on health and advertising industry issues and she’s been published in leading academic journals including: Journal of Advertising, Journal of Public Policy and Marketing, and Journal of Health Care Marketing. Dr. King has presented her work at many advertising, marketing, and mass communication conferences.

Dr. Dean Krugman, Professor, Grady College

KrugmanAbout Dean Krugman: Dr. Krugman is Professor Emeritus in the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, University of Georgia. His expertise includes health communication and risk, health warnings and advertising/marketing communication. In addition to his research stream on health and risk communication, Dr. Krugman has worked with US Justice Department, National Association of Attorneys General and several states regarding the influence of cigarette advertising/marketing communication on adolescents and adults, the effectiveness of anti-smoking strategies and the effectiveness of cigarette warnings.

Dr. Paul Matthews, Center for Latino Achievement and Success in Education


Dr. Matthews is a full-time Assistant Director of the Office of Service-Learning and directs the Center for Latino Achievement and Success in Education (CLASE) in the College of Education at the University of Georgia. He teaches service-learning tutoring coursework, was a Service-Learning Fellow in 2006, and has been the OSL Scholar for Faculty Development. As the Assistant Director, Dr. Matthews continues to expand OSL services and support to faculty, students and the community. He collaborates directly with Public Services and Outreach units to help involve UGA students in their work and studies.


Dr. Jennifer Monahan, Professor, Department of Speech Communication

600_monahanDr. Monahan came to the University of Georgia after obtaining her PH.D. at the University of Southern California in 1993. Her areas of expertise include Interpersonal Communication and Health Communication, and, she teaches classes in: theory development, research methods, message design, emotion, and intercultural communications. Her research interest includes social interaction where she examines conversational behavior in many different contexts. Her work examines how message production and message reception are affected by alcohol consumption, and, with a new grant with NIAAA, how women communicate in risky sexual situations when under the influence of alcohol.

Dr. Jessica Muilenburg, Assistant Professor, College of Public Health, Dept. of Health Promotion and Behavior

muilenburgDr. Muilenburg, Assistant Professor at the College of Public health at UGA, focuses her research interests on risky adolescent behaviors with a primary concentration on tobacco use. She researches the affects of tobacco on all ages under eighteen, but is most interested in middle school aged children and the risk behaviors associated with this specific group. Underage driving and substance use/abuse tie in with this research, and she shows a particular interest in these topics as well. She is currently funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, a division of the National Institutes of Health.



Dr. David Mustard, Associate Professor, Economics, Terry College of Business

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Dr. David Mustard is Associate Professor for the Department of Economics at the University of Georgia. His areas of expertise include Applied Microeconomics, Crime, and Education and holds two esteemed professional positions: Research Fellow at the Institute for the Study of Labor, and, Senior Fellow at the University of Georgia Institute for Higher Education. Dr. Mustard has several journal articles published in publications such as: Journal of Legal Studies, Journal of Law and Economics, and Review of Economics and Statistics.


Dr. Pamela Orpinas, Professor, Health Promotion & Behavior, College of Public Health

orpinas-webDr. Pamela Orpinas, Professor of Health Promotion and Behavior at University of Georgia, has trained teachers, parents and students in the prevention of bullying and school violence. She incorporates these experiences into her teaching in the College of Public Health where she focuses in the areas of children and adolescent development. She is most interested in understanding what differentiates groups of adolescents who follow certain behavioral patterns, and what the outcomes are afterwards. From the completed research, Dr. Orpinas develops better programs that are specific to certain groups of adolescents. Over the years, she has received large grants allowing her to follow groups of students over a period of several years. Dr. Orpinas has written two books; Bullying Prevention: Creating a Positive School Climate and Developing Social Competence (2006), and, Realizing Social Justice: The Challenge of Preventive Intervention (2009). Interested in addressing both school violence prevention and advocating social justice, Dr. Pamela Orpinas has tapped into issues that affect everyone.

Dr. Joe Phua, Assistant Professor, Department of Advertising and Public Relations


Dr. Phua teaches digital advertising, advertising and communication management, and advertising and society. He has done extensive research examining the impact of new communication technologies, including social media, on advertising, public health campaigns and sports communication. He is interested in how people’s friendships and social online/offline groups influence their own behavior, especially through: social identity, social capital, persuasion, social contagion and social influence. Dr. Phua’s research addresses issues of pop culture and advertising, especially when celebrities are used.

Dr. Bryan Reber, Associate Professor, Advertising & Public Relations, Grady College

13.ReberDr. Bryan Reber, Assistant Department Head and Professor of Public Relations at the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, holds primary teaching interests in public relations administration, public relations communication, and public relations campaigns. He has in the past taught persuasion, campaign research and public opinion management on the graduate level. Before joining Grady College, Dr. Reber worked in public relations at Bethel College, Kansas. He has also conducted research and consulted for the University of Alabama, Alabama Entrepreneurial Research network, Sierra Club, Ketchum, and Missouri Public Service Commissions. He also taught at the University of Alabama prior to his transfer to Grady faculty at UGA.


Dr. Patricia Reeves, Assistant Professor, School of Social Work

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Dr. Reeves teaching and research interests focus on the issues dealing with psychosocial development during adolescence and adulthood. Researching the coping abilities and processes of individuals living with HIV/AIDS, as well as, the protective/risk factors associated with violence and academic failure in adolescence are her specialties. Dr. Reeves teaches predominately in both the MSW and the PH.D. programs and brings a plethora of social work practice experience to the School of Social Work. This includes medical social work and school social work.

Dr. Donald L. Rubin, Professor Emeritus, Departments of Speech Communication and Language & Literacy Education

rubinDr. Rubin’s research interests include such areas as health literacy (especially listen-ability and interpersonal processing of health information), the roles of faith communities in health communication, linguistic analyses of health information, and adolescent egocentrism as a factor in teens’ processing of health messages. In addition, Rubin has worked for many years in the areas of intercultural communication, study abroad, and responses to speakers of World Englishes.



Dr. Jennifer Samp, Associate Professor, Department of Speech Communication

600_Samp1Jennifer Samp is Associate Professor, Associate Head, and Graduate Coordinator for the Department of Communication Studies. Her research focuses on how people translate and strategically communicate during periods of conflict, power differentials, stress and difficulties in close relationships. She studies human interaction content, both verbally and non-verbally, and the positive and negative effects it has on individuals. Jennifer Samp is a Fellow with the UGA Institute for Behavioral Research and a Faculty Affiliate with the Emory Center for Injury Control and the UGA Center for Health and Risk Communication. She teaches undergraduate and graduate courses on interpersonal communication, personal relationships, conflict, communication theory, and quantitative research methods.


Dr. Lorilee Sandmann, Associate Professor, Department of Adult Education

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Dr. Lorilee Sandmann is currently researching leadership and organizational change in higher education’s institutionalization of community engagement. She also focuses on faculty roles and rewards related to engaged scholarship. Innovative, with cutting-edge ideas, Dr. Sandmann led a national team of scholars to analyze community engagement classified institutions. She also co-facilitated a Houle Engaged Scholars project that investigated graduate students and their advisers in the development of community-engaged research.

Dr. Lijiang Shen, Assistant Professor, Department of Speech Communication

600_shen.pngDr. Lijiang Shen, Associate Professor in the Department of Communication Studies at the University of Georgia, researches the impact of message features and audience characteristics in: persuasive health communications, message processing, and the process of persuasion/resistance to persuasion. He also excels in the quantitative research methods in communication. Dr. Shen’s research has been published in major communication and journals, such as: The Sage Handbook of Persuasion: Developments in Theory and Practice (2nd Ed.) (2012), and, The Impact of Attitude Accessibility and Decision Style on Adolescents’ Biased Processing of Health-Related PSAs (2009). He teaches persuasion, health communication and quantitative research methods.

Dr. Jeff Springston, Associate Dean For Research And Graduate Studies, Grady College

Springston.Jeff Dr. Springston teaches public relations, media and health, and research methods. Research foci include health and risk communications. Dr. Springston’s research interests are public relations, health promotion, and emerging communication technologies. He has been an investigator on eight research studies funded by such agencies as the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. His work is published in a variety of leading journals and scholarly publications, including the Journal of Applied Communication Research, Cancer Detection and Prevention, Journal of the Health and Human Services Administration, Handbook of Health Communication, Handbook of Public Relations, Health Communication, Journal of Public Relations Research, International Journal of Behavioral Medicine, International Journal of Intercultural Research, Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly, Public Relations Review, Journal of Psychosocial Oncology, and Small Group Research.

Dr. Jiyeon So, Assistant Professor, Department of Communication Studies

600_JsoDr. Jiyeon So is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communications Studies at the University of Georgia, has research interests primarily in health risk communication, media effects on risk perception, entertainment education, and the use of emotional appeals in communicating health risks. She researches how audience involvement influences the effectiveness of health risk messages, and, her work has been published in major communication and related journals including: Communication Theory, Human Communication Research, Journal of Health Communication, and Health Communication. At the moment, her current projects include: Content analysis of obesity-related messages on social media, a test of E-EPPM: A further extension of the EPPM, and, Moderators of the effects of statistical versus anecdotal information on social and personal risk perceptions. Dr. So teaches health communication, research methods, and theories of health communication (graduate level) at UGA.

Dr. Patricia Thomas, Professor, Knight Chair In Health And Medical Journalism


Dr. Patricia Thomas directs the program and holds the Knight Chair in Health and Medical Journalism at the Grady College Graduate Program at the University of Georgia. She both teaches and mentors graduate students and does research on health disparities and communication, helps health professionals to communicate with reporters and the public, and trains reporters from traditional and ethnic news organizations. She has vast experience covering medical issues from public health to life science research, and from 1991-1997, she was the editor for the Harvard Health Letter.

Dr. Mark Wilson, Associate Professor and Department Head, Health Promotion and Behavior

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Dr. Mark Wilson is Professor and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs ant the College of Public Health at the University of Georgia. His research interests include: Work-site Health Promotion, Social Marketing of Health Promotion, Creating healthy work organizations, and Developing and Evaluating behavior change interventions. Recently, he has received a grant to test variations of a Diabetes Prevention Program in workplace settings. The five-year grant will fund a six-month management program aimed at reducing calorie intake and advocating more physical exercise. He believes that due to past and present rising health costs, it’s becoming crucial that employers identify ways to promote healthy lifestyles. In the long run, it will save them money.