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The Hugh Downs School of Human Communication in the ASU College of Liberal Arts and Sciences focuses on understanding and improving communication in everyday life. The Health Communication Initiative (HCI), headed by Professor Olga Davis, narrows the focus to communication with respect to health and well being. Areas of research include: alcohol and drug abuse and recovery, the role of affection on stress and the outcomes of communication on sexual behavior.
The initiative is transdisciplinary; communications experts inform human subjects research of all varieties, providing guidance on how best to impact compliance, how to message most effectively or how to persuade people to adopt healthy behaviors.
ASU faculty explore the complexities of health communication in an increasingly global world and offer appropriately nuanced and locally-specific solutions to communication dilemmas in health care contexts. For example, one study examines how the culture of college campuses influences student decisions about alcohol use. Another project explores how cultural beliefs about gender impact the delivery and efficacy of health care messages to women living in border communities.