So, what types of jobs are available in health communication?

A few days ago, while chatting with @soroyajulian, one  of the things that came up was the scope of health communication. Although the topic related to what we wanted to showcase on the blog, it did make me think more about the field in general and the people who work in it. Many health communication researchers and experts work to develop, implement and evaluate effective behavior change campaigns But, the field is much more than that. Areas of active interest today include ehealth applications and their implications, patient-provider communications, health advocacy and the media, impact of the media on health behavior, and communication inequities and health disparities. Some specialize in areas such as HIV/AIDS, others are cancer communication experts, and some at the intersection of environmental health and communication among other areas.

To that end, I wanted to give you an idea of some of the jobs popping up in the field. The jobs below are mainly in the US. But, the skills required are necessary for these types of jobs outside the US as well.

To be a Health Communication Specialist at the Centers for Disease Control:

“The incumbent is responsible for supporting the planning, implementation, and evaluation of various health communication and marketing activities designed to impact positive health outcomes.  Provides expert consultation and technical expertise to the development and implementation of priorities, strategies, and practices for communicating with various audiences (e.g., general public, undeserved populations, and populations at risk).  Conducts health problem analysis, applying communication theories, and models to communication campaign development; using audience segmentation analysis and formative research to select appropriate communication channels and messages; maintaining ongoing tactical communication campaign and partnership activities.  Supports the development and management of communication projects funded extramurally, participating in the writing of contracts, cooperative agreements, and/or grants and independent government cost estimates.  Supports the development, testing and timely dissemination of science such as the development and presentation of printed, electronic, and audiovisual materials for technical and lay audiences, scientific journals, and internet and other mass-media outlets.  Develops measurable objectives, related to health communications and marketing, in consultation with consumers, determining knowledge gaps, monitoring communication channel use, monitoring audience demand for materials and publications, check reaction to messages, and conducting environmental scans and other evaluation tactics in order to assist in creating health communication and marketing strategies and messages.”

Quantitative skills is highly valued in many fields, and health communication and social marketing is no different. To demonstrate, here’s a job for a Social Marketing Evaluation Specialist for an end-of-project performance evaluation in Madagascar.

“The Social Marketing Evaluation Specialists will be responsible for overall execution of the End-of-Project Performance Evaluation. Evaluation Specialists will be the primary liaison with USAID/Madagascar, the implementing partner, and all participating local institutions and key stakeholders. Evaluation Specialists will collect both qualitative and quantitative information about the project, conduct interviews, perform site visits, and conduct mini-survey of selected stakeholders, in addition to developing other methodologies.”

While a student at the University of Southern California, I became enamored with the work of Hollywood, Health & Society. If you’ve ever wondered how TV shows get their health information so accurate, you can thank HH&S. They bring together entertainment producers with public health and medical experts so the public can have the best available information. Although they have no say in the final products, their job is to encourage entertainment officials include relevant public health data in their shows.

Here’s what Hollywood, Health & Society asks of its Project Manager:

“The Project Manager provides leadership, direction and supervision for day-to-day operations and administrative activities, participates in the planning, design and development of project protocols, proposals and data acquisition, and manages the analysis and reporting of program results. The Project Manager conducts employee reviews, offers input into staffing decisions, is a member of the management team, and represents the program among funding agencies, public health and academic partners, and representatives of the entertainment industry. Specific responsibilities include scheduling and coordinating meetings and briefings with TV shows and executives, monitoring and developing tracking systems and tip sheets for TV writers, overseeing production of the Sentinel for Health Awards, establishing partnerships with public health and entertainment partners, and providing support and content for evaluation activities.”

These are just a few of what’s out there currently. Like I said earlier, this is a very dynamic field and encompasses people with a wide range of skill-sets. Although I’ll be going into my phd program this fall, I’m always looking at jobs to see what qualifications employers are looking for. I’m particularly interested in knowing how and where these jobs are advertised in the Caribbean. So, if you’ve seen a job similar to the ones above, do send it to me at and I’ll post it on the site.

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