Annenberg Faculty to Help Launch Health Communication Program at Chinese University

Renmin University in Beijing will begin a health communication program with help from faculty and researchers from the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School for Communication.            

A Summer Institute for Health Communication Studies will take place at Renmin University June 28 – July 14. During that time faculty from Annenberg will lead classroom sessions on a variety of health communication subjects. The participants will include junior faculty members and advanced graduate students from selected Chinese universities.            

“This represents a wonderful opportunity to enrich cooperative scholarship between great American researchers and their counterparts in China,” says Monroe E. Price, Director of Annenberg’s Center for Global Communication Studies, which is helping to coordinate the institute.

Several Penn faculty and researchers will participate, including Annenberg professors Joseph N. Cappella and Robert Hornik, and researcher Amy Jordan, who heads the Media and the Developing Child sector of the Annenberg Public Policy Center. Other participants from the U.S. include Michael Slater from Ohio State University and Xiaoquan Zhao from George Mason University. Dr. Zhao received his doctoral degree from Annenberg in 2005. Annenberg doctoral students Dina Shapiro and Rui Shi also will participate.            

Penn faculty’s expertise will add greatly to the institute, with sessions covering topics such as:

  • What are health communication campaigns and when do they work,
  • Theories of attention, attitude and behavior change,
  • Case studies on anti-smoking and anti-drug campaigns,
  • The effects of entertainment narratives, and
  • The importance of child development theories for understanding the effects of media on youth.

The University of Pennsylvania has an ongoing commitment to scholarship in China. Earlier this year Penn President Amy Gutmann signed a memorandum of understanding with Peking University recognizing shared academic interests between the two universities. This builds on several existing partnerships between Penn and institutes of higher education in China, including activities by the Wharton School and Penn’s School of Dental Medicine.            

The Summer Institute will “kick off” on June 27 with a one-day symposium at Renmin University on health communication studies in the United States and China, with a focus on communicable disease. Participants in that event include Penn’s faculty, along with officials from the Chinese Ministry of Health; the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the Beijing Center for Disease Control and Prevention, and provincial CDCs; Chinese scholars and practitioners; and doctoral students.