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Expert in Online Health Communication to Join Faculty

Heather J. Hether, who is currently on the faculty at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, will join the Department of Communication’s Academic Senate faculty this fall.
Expert in Online Health Communication to Join Faculty

Heather J. Hether

Assistant Professor Hether earned her Ph.D. in 2009 from the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California. She also earned a master’s degree from USC in communication management. She worked for more than a decade in advertising and public relations before pursuing her doctorate. “Dr. Hether brings to our program superb academic credentials and business experience,” said department Chair Robert Bell.

Focus on health and social media

Her research focuses on health-related communication in online contexts. Her work has been presented at national and international conferences and published in a number of outlets including Digital Health, Public Relations Review, the Journal of Health Communication, Sex Roles, the American Journal of Media Psychology, and the Journalism and Mass Communication Educator.

Her recent work examines how health organizations use social media to engage their stakeholders. Previous research has examined the impacts of health information communicated through nontraditional channels, such as through social networking sites and entertainment television programs. She uses a mixed-methods approach in her research that includes in-depth interviews, surveys, content analysis, and social network analysis.

Recognized for teaching, PR expertise

She was nominated for recognition as an outstanding university educator by the Public Relations Society of America and she is an award-winning public relations practitioner.

In her first year, she will teach Strategic Communication in Public Relations (CMN 131), Communication Campaigns (CMN 146) and Health Communication (CMN 161). She will also offer a new course, Social Media for Public Relations, in spring 2017 under the number CMN 132.