Jingwen Zhang

Jingwen Zhang

Position Title
Associate Professor

362 Kerr Hall


  • Ph.D., Communication, University of Pennsylvania, 2016
  • M.A., Communication, University of Pennsylvania, 2013
  • M.A., English, Clemson University, 2011
  • B.A., Media and International Culture, Zhejiang University, 2009


Jingwen Zhang is an Associate Professor of the Department of Communication and an Affiliate Faculty of the Department of Public Health Sciences at the University of California Davis. She received her PhD in Communication from the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Zhang’s research focuses on understanding, designing, and testing emerging persuasive technologies in shaping public attitudes and behaviors. She has conducted many clinical trials that demonstrated the efficacy and mechanisms of social media, online social networks, and mobile applications in changing health attitudes and behaviors. During the past five years, she has focused on understanding and developing conversational AI or chatbot in persuasion and health promotion. She received the Ayman El-Mohandes Young Professional Public Health Innovation Award in 2021. Dr. Zhang’s research have been published in a wide range of top journals, including Nature Communications, Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, Journal of Health Communication, American Journal of Public Health, Preventive Medicine, Annual Review of Sociology, etc.

Research Focus

Jingwen Zhang's research program centers on health communication and promotion, with a focus on understanding the effects and mechanisms of social media and emerging technologies on health. The fundamental goal is to improve health and society through changing perceptions, attitudes, and behaviors to prevent illnesses and reduce mortality. Current research efforts focus on the development and explication of persuasive online networks, mobile technologies, artificial intelligence-chatbot, and computational approaches in health contexts.


Research on social networks, social media, and health:


Research on AI-human communication and chatbot:


Jingwen Zhang teaches the following undergraduate and graduate courses:

CMN 112, Theories of Persuasion

CMN 178, Persuasive Technologies

CMN/SPH 232, Health Communication

CMN/SPH 233, Persuasive Technologies for Health


  • Everett M. Rogers Award, Public Health Education and Health Promotion Section, American Public Health Association, 2023
  • Top paper award, “Ritualistic dynamics of task and social-emotional interactions predict interpersonal influence outcomes in compliance-gaining and advice-giving conversations,” International Communication Association Conference, Paris, France, 2022
  • The Ayman El-Monhandes Young Professional Public Health Innovation Award, American Public Health Association, 2021
  • Top paper award, “Linguistic accommodation enhances compliance to donate: the role of interpersonal processes in mediated conversations,” International Communication Association Conference, Virtual conference, 2020
  • Top paper award, “Facts or stories? How to use social media for cervical cancer prevention: A multi-method study and randomized trial of the effects of sender type and content type on increased message sharing,” International Communication Association Conference, Washington, D.C., 2019
  • Russell Ackoff Doctoral Student Fellowship Award, 2015
  • President Gutmann Leadership Award, Graduate and Professional Student Assembly, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, 2015