Published on March 26, 2014

In today’s often bewildering world of scientific, technological, cultural, and political change, medicine faces human problems and possibilities that transcend traditional academic disciplines. As such, communication about health and medicine is ever more important in shaping our understandings of our cultures, our politics, and ourselves. In an effort to map the changing climate of health care and medical communication, Communication Design Quarterly invites proposals for a Fall 2015 special issue on health and medicine.

Recent discussions at the intersections of English Studies, communication studies, and technical and professional communication have emphasized the importance of key issues including dissemination, ethics, connections, theory, and methods. Further, scholars have noted the importance of considering how conversations about health care are always already inflected by popular understandings of genetics, disease, and embodiment (Condit; Keranen; Koerber; Scott). This special issue seeks to expand these conversations by contributing to a growing body of collaborative and interdisciplinary work inhealth, medicine, and society. Submissions may focus on exploring and critiquing communication design concepts and practices that shape our understandings of health and medicine; pathology, disease, and illness; ability, choice, and access; and/or wellness and fitness. We additionally welcome interrogation of tensions between public health and privatized health care, neuroscience and enculturated practice, and reproductive health care and privilege in popular communication as well as investigation of  gendered and racialized patterns of care and their uptake in news media. We are especially interested in submissions that include discussion of interdisciplinary approaches, environmental rhetorics, visual communication, and experiential/embodied knowledges. Further, we are excited to consider proposals for pieces that subvert and transgress the conventions of traditional scholarly articles. Collaborative essays, multimodal works, photo essays, posters, and other alternative media are strongly encouraged.

Potential questions that submissions might address include:

  • What do evolving definitions of medical rhetoric/health communication make possible and/or limit?

  • What are the primary distinctions, contradictions, and connections between humanities-based orientations and social sciences-based orientations to health and medical communication?

  • What are best practices in the design of health and medical communication?

  • How do health and medical researchers disseminate their work and what implications do common rhetorical choices in those communications have?

  • What productive points of confluence in theory and methods work can help to produce more efficient health and medical communication? And for whom must health and medical communication be efficient?

  • What practices can technical communicators engage in to promote social justice in the contexts of health and medical communication?

  • How can various approaches to the design of health and medical communication affect public perceptions of risk and ethical accountability?

  • What research challenges do health and medical communications researchers face?

  • What roles do the Internet and social media play in health communication?

  • In what ways have recent political interventions altered the ways we communicate about health and medicine, and what might this mean for future health/medical communicators and practitioners?

Please send article proposals of up to 500 words and a short c.v. to Lisa Meloncon ( and Erin Frost (  

Schedule is as follows:

  • Proposals due:  May 1, 2014

  • Notifications for full drafts: May 15, 2014

  • Full drafts due: December 1, 2014

  • Final revisions due: April 1, 2015

Full CFP