How can communication help to promote health and racial equity?
We are an interdisciplinary team of researchers who study media coverage of health and social policy issues and the way that media and messaging shape opinions, attitudes, and behaviors in a complex, polarized, and changing information environment. Our focus centers on policies with strong evidence and/or potential to advance health and racial equity.
We don’t promise easy or one-size-fits-all solutions for difficult problems. Instead, we offer a deep and nuanced understanding of the media ecosystem and the policy context surrounding the most important population health issues of our time. We consider how the specific communication, political, and social context surrounding health and social policies may shape responses to media messages among a variety of audiences, including the public, policymakers, professionals, and communities most affected by inequitable structures.
Our research evidence can help health advocates, narrative change organizations, journalists, public health professionals, and community leaders consider the intended and unintended consequences of their communication.
Research conducted by members of our team has collectively made great advances in knowledge of the determinants, content, and effects of media relevant to advancing health and racial equity. Our research agenda spans five related Focus Areas:
Our core team includes researchers at three institutions: Cornell University, Wesleyan University, and the University of Minnesota. Our research tracks the content of media (including news and advertisements); examines the impact of media messaging on attitudes, values, and behavior; and identifies new opportunities to work with journalists, public health officials, affected communities, and advocacy organizations to put the research findings into practice to advance health and racial equity.