Center for Communication and Health

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Graduate programs in Health Communication are housed within The Center for Communication and Health which is a program of Northwestern University’s world-renowned School of Communication.

While the Center for Communication and Health is housed within the School of Communication, the interdisciplinary nature of study reflects Northwestern’s commitment to developing innovative solutions to today’s most pressing problems.  


The Center’s mission is to improve the quality and safety of healthcare as patients experience it, to improve the health of populations, and to reduce the cost of care by applying the interdisciplinary tools of the communication arts and sciences to the most pressing challenges in healthcare. The focus of the center is twofold: 1. Offer world-class graduate education in Health Communication 2. Conduct research. The Center assembles interdisciplinary groups of scholars who share the goal of designing new communications-based solutions to promote health and wellness. Our research focuses on the intersection of social influence and human-centered design. Research on social influence informs us about how communication can shape attention, learning, attitudes, intentions, and behavior to promote health. Research on human-centered design informs us about how individuals navigate through sociotechnical systems to gain the information, not to mention the protocols and treatments, they need to achieve their health goals. By bridging social influence and human-centered design, we create methods for improving the cost, effectiveness, and safety of care.


The Center for Communication and Health is directed by Dr. Bruce Lambert, an internationally known communication scientist and an expert in health communication, medication errors, patient safety and medical liability reform. The research mission of the Center for Communication and Health is anchored Dr. Lambert’s Center for Education and Research in Therapeutics (CERT). Funded by the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), the theme of the CERT is Tools for Optimizing Medication Safety. This interdisciplinary research center has been continuously funded by AHRQ since 2007. It encompasses research on pharmacoepidemiology, training medical residents on the safe dosing of opioids, developing methods to predict and prevent drug name confusion errors, and developing strategies to deliver medication information in a way that overcomes barriers created by low health literacy and limited English language skills. The Center for Communication and Health will be a home for interdisciplinary collaborations between affiliated faculty from the School of Communication, the McCormick School of Engineering, and the Institute for Public Health and Medicine, as well as collaborations with researchers from outside Northwestern.