Kasisomayajula Viswanath, Ph.D.
|Title||Associate Professor of Social and Behavioral Sciences|
|Institution||Harvard School of Public Health|
|Department||Dept of Social and Behavioral Sciences|
|Address||Harvard School of Public Health|
677 Huntington Avenue, Kresge Bldg
Boston MA 02115
||Mayhew Derryberry Award|
Dr. Viswanath's research draws on literature in communication science, social epidemiology, and social and health behavior. He is, however, equally concerned with bridging the gap between "discovery" and "delivery" and is working toward translating knowledge to influence public health policy and practice. Dr. Viswanath's current research program reflects his general interests, but in three distinct concentrations:
1. the reasons for limited access to health information and the implications of unequal access to
public and individual health
2. the study of health and science reporting, including the sociology of medical and health
journalism, with an interest in bridging the worlds of science and journalism to improve health
3. examining the effects of mass media — news and entertainment — on health knowledge,
attitudes, and behaviors
The findings from this body of work are useful in designing:
• strategies not only to enhance access to health information among the underserved, but also to
make this information understandable to low-literacy populations.
• effective messages and communication systems to reduce cancer risk and promote prevention.
Current research in the Viswanath Lab at DFCI/HSPH focuses on documenting the link between inequalities in communication and health disparities, and how to address these disparities through communication and dissemination. Within this broader context, Dr. Viswanath's work explores:
• e-health and health disparities
• information seeking among cancer survivors and patients
• the professional work of health journalists
• how people learn about health from the media
• the media's role in tobacco use
• health communication and social capital
The Viswanath Lab currently consists of post-doctoral fellows, doctoral students, and project staff. The work is funded by the National Institutes of Health, the American Legacy Foundation, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Lance Armstrong Foundation, among others.
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