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Heather J. Hether


  • Ph.D., Communication, University of Southern California, 2009
  • M.A., Communication, University of Southern California, 2007
  • M.A., Communication Management, University of Southern California, 2003
  • B.A., Psychology, York University, 1992


Dr. Hether's Communication research focuses on public outreach campaigns in the nonprofit sector. As an associate professor of teaching, she also examines innovative pedagogical strategies that most effectively support student learning. 

Dr. Hether's research has been published in leading academic journals, including the Journal of Health Communication and Public Relations Review and she has presented her work at national and international conferences. Dr. Hether has held previous academic and research positions at the University of the Pacific in Stockton and UC Davis' Center for Healthcare Policy and Research in Sacramento. Prior to her academic career, Dr Hether worked for more than a decade in marketing and public relations for a variety of private organizations in the US and Canada.

Research Focus

Dr. Hether’s research focuses on public interest communication campaigns and innovative pedagogy. As an instructional researcher, Dr. Hether studies active learning, peer collaboration, and creative thinking.

Selected Publications

  • Malloch, Y.S., & Hether, H.J. (2019). The dark side of addiction support forums: Impacts of poor quality and insufficient emotional support on perceived support availability and health efficacy. Journal of Health Communication. DOI: 10.1080/10810730.2019.1631913
  • Hether, H.J. (2019). Taking a swipe at Apple: The Federal Bureau of Investigation v. Apple Inc. In B. Brunner, & C. Hickerson (Eds.), Cases in public relations: Translating ethics into action (pp. 328-343). New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Hether, H.J., Crowley, S., & Broaddus, T. (2018). Compassion & Choices and Brittany Maynard help create new medical aid-in-dying legislation in California. In B. St. John III, D. K. Martinelli, R.S. Pritchard, & C. Spaulding (Eds.), Cases in public relations strategy (pp.75-82). Thousand Oaks: Sage Publishing.
  • Hether, H.J. (2018). United Nations Environment is #WildforLife: A global social media campaign gets personal. In A. V. Laskin (Ed.), Social, mobile, and emerging media from around the world: Communication case studies (pp.11-24). London:  Lexington Books.
  • Hether, H.J., Martin, J.C., & Cole, A.W. (2017). The Internet of Things and wearable technology as a classroom resource. In M. Strawser (Ed.), New media and digital pedagogy (pp. 129-145). London: Lexington Books.
  • Hether, H.J., Murphy, S.T., & Valente, T.W. (2016, February). A social network analysis of the supportive interactions on prenatal sites. Digital Health. doi:10.1177/2055207616628700
  • Wilkin, H., Katz, V., Ball-Rokeach, S.J., & Hether, H.J. (2015). Communication resources for obesity prevention among African American and Latino residents in an urban neighborhood. Journal of Health Communication, 20(6), 710–719. doi:10.1080/10810730.2015.1018559
  • Hether, H.J. (2014). Dialogic communication in the health care context: A case study of Kaiser Permanente's social media practices. Public Relations Review, 40(5), 856–858. doi: 10.1016/j.pubrev.2014.07.007
  • Hether, H.J., Murphy, S.T., & Valente, T.W. (2014). It's better to give than to receive: The role of social support, trust and participation on health-related social networking sites. Journal of Health Communication. doi:10.1080/10810730.2014.894596
  • Pariera, K.L., Hether, H.J., Murphy, S.M., de Castro Buffingon, S., & L. Baezconde-Garbanati. (2013). Portrayals of reproductive and sexual health issues on primetime television. Health Communication. doi:10.1080/10410236.2013.774653


Dr. Hether teaches media, public relations and health communication courses. Her course subjects include Strategic Communication in Public Relations (CMN 131), Social Media for Public Relations (CMN 132), Communication Campaigns (CMN 146), Health Communication (CMN 161), and Interpersonal Communication Competence (CMN 003V).


  • Nominated for Outstanding Educator Award, Public Relations Society of America, 2013
  • Eberhardt Research Fellowship, University of the Pacific, 2012