Online PhD in Health Communication
A PhD in Health Communication is a graduate level degree program commonly offered in public health doctoral degree program as a specialization.
At this level, the PhD candidate is expected to perform original research and make a unique contribution to the scientific body of knowledge in the form of a doctoral thesis or dissertation. Some of the issues tackled in the field of public well being include responsible drinking, the prevention of violence among the young and coping with a growing elderly population as the baby boomer generation approaches retirement. A doctoral candidate is expected to hold a masters degree in a related discipline. This could be social or behavioral science, psychology, public health or medicine. Some institutions offer the relevant prerequisite postgraduate degrees in Community and Behavioral studies. The goal of the program is to inform, influence, and motivating audiences about health issues.
PhD in Health Studies Programs
Health Communication Education and Training
Early in the program, the doctoral student works closely with their degree supervisor to develop a study plan that will meet the individuals personal study goals as well as the requirements of the institution. This include determining areas of focus and pertinent research topics,
Students in the PhD in Health Communication degree program may expect to complete around 75 semester hours of classroom instruction in addition to attending departmental seminars. For example, nine semester hours of courses would encompass introductory courses in Biostatistics, Health Promotion and Disease Prevention and Basic Principles of Epidemiology. Other courses may include health policy, community health, and environmental health. A series of research methodology courses is also required, including qualitative methods and quantitative methods.
In the area of Behavioral and Social Sciences, the doctoral candidate could choose to study courses in Medical Anthropology, Social Determinants of Health or Health Behavior and Health Education. A module in Research Methods would offer a choice of course in qualitative research in public medicine, design and analysis of biomedical studies, categorical data analysis or an introduction to multivariate study methods.
Health Communication Careers
An expert in this field is someone who is able to combine complex medical concepts with familiarity with social science to facilitate meaningful communication between the medical profession and patients and their caregivers. They may be equally expected to translate information from government agencies and scientific institutions into language that is accessible to the lay person with a view to improving public wellness.
A postdoctoral degree holder may find themselves in the position of harnessing the power of mass communication to persuade the public to adopt healthy behavior patterns. They might also find employment opportunities lobbying policy makers to draw their attention to prevailing public issues.
The PhD in health communication is a comparatively new area of research. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) based in Georgia demonstrated its commitment to medical communications by adding the word, 'Prevention', to its formal title and by establishing a formal Office of Communication. There are growing number of postdoctoral opportunities for medical communications graduates.
Estimated Income and Projected Career Growth
In the United States, a medical writer in the private sector can expect to earn between $40,000 and $55,000; likewise, a Senior Account Manager in Medical Communications. An Associate Director will earn around $70,000. These roles are likely to require some travel so a company car or car allowance may be part of the package.
There may also be bonus programs, private medical insurance, contributory pension schemes and other benefits. A Medical Director employed by a Medical Communications Agency can expect a six figure salary and commensurate benefits. During the decade between 2004 and 2014, more new jobs, perhaps as many as 20% are expected to be in the medical sector making a PhD in health communication an important addition to one's vita.
Online PhD in health communication and human services PhD programs
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