Published on December 30, 2014

Building on the momentum of the 2013 Symposium, the University of Cincinnati will again host Discourses of Health and Medicine, September 3-4, 2015. Our keynote speakers will be Judy Segal, University of British Columbia, and Teri Thompson, University of Dayton. Featured speakers are still being rounded up.

Our theme for the 2015 Symposium will be “Looking Forward,” and you are invited to submit your work that speculates, projects, predicts, innovates, challenges, [insert your own word here] current research paradigms and what might take place in the future. We want to continue our in-depth conversations around creating research agendas and determining what questions our specialty area should investigate. Be bold!

To this end, we seek proposals that address one or more of the following over-arching categories and example key, related questions. (And if for some reason, you don’t see yourself here, email Lisa and talk it through!)

Critical Theory

  • What new or emerging theoretical perspectives can guide our work? How can we mix and merge these new perspectives with more conventional ones to engage in effective research and in sharing information with different audiences?
  • How is critical theory defined and used in relation to the study of medical and health communication? Are there differences in definition or application that can hinder collaboration?
  • How can critical theory provide us with new ways to view and consider health and medical communication? How might it expand the works and approaches we include in our research and related discussions?
  • How can critical theory expand our understanding of audience in relation to healthcare/medical professionals, to patients, and to greater society?
  • How can or are we casting the critical theory approach to facilitate interactions with healthcare professionals? How might we need to rethink our uses of critical theory to connect to or attract such audiences?


  • Cross-disciplinary, transdisciplinary, interdisciplinary are all buzzwords. How are we defining and approaching them? How can we make partnerships associated with these ideas and approaches work for us?
  • What current methods need to be expanded? What methods should we move away from and why? What methods should we seek to explore or include?
  • What methods are other fields using to investigate health and medical discourse, and should we consider adopting or adapting them?
  • How can move our theories into a specific method/ological orientation? Should we?
  • How can we (re)cast our methods to increase acceptance form and enhance interest in partnering with individuals in the healthcare professions?


  • How can or should we expand our research to include and address visual aspects of communication?
  • What scholars, bodies of work, sources, or approaches should we use to examine the visual aspects of health and medical communication?
  • With what other fields or areas can or should we be partnering to examine visual discourse in health and medical communication?
  • How should we approach and study the uses of different media – social media, online media, interactive media – in terms of visual communication?
  • How can our research guide best practices to creating visual materials used to convey medical and health information to different audiences?


  • What technologies are at the cutting edge in terms of sharing health and medical information with different audiences? How are and should we be using such technologies to share information with these audiences?
  • What can we contribute to discussions about wearable technologies and self tracking in health and medicine? What emerging technologies will have the greatest effects on how we share health and medical information in the future? How might we begin to research/explore such technologies?
  • What roles does the Internet, EMRs, and patient forums, to name but a few, have on communication of health and medicine, and how can we intervene and shift these conversations to benefit patients and care?
  • What legal developments are emerging to govern/regulate how we use different technologies to share health and medical information via different technologies? How are we (as individuals and as a society) responding to these developments? What legal developments are on the horizon and how might they affect the development and uses of different technologies?
  • What technologies are we using in our research? How are we using them, and are there suggested or best practices for doing so? If so, what are they?


  • What does our unique perspective offer to environmental scientists and public health officials?
  • What are the pressing questions that need to be addressed around issues of environmental health communication?
  • What role does a specific place/space have on issues of health and medicine?
  • How are environmental regulation affecting communication practices – specifically, what we communicate about and how we communicate about it?
  • How are we – or should we be – communicating/sharing information about the environment and environmental factors with the general public?


  • How can and do cultural factors affect communication practices related to health and medicine?
  • How can factors of language and translation affect how we share health and medical information with others and how we conduct research on and collaborate with others in global contexts?
  • How are different national legal systems and different cultural value systems affecting communication practices in an age of globalization?
  • How do we need to re-think our approaches to research to better include audiences from different cultures and nations?
  • How can and will the international spread of online media and hand-held information communication technologies affect the collection and dissemination of health and medical information in the future?

Proposal Details

Proposals can be up to 1000 words to ensure that the program review committee has a good sense of your ideas.

Submit at: You will be asked to create an account to submit.

Place your proposal in the abstract field. Do not upload your proposal. Initially, click the “I will submit paper later” button. Accepted proposals will use this function to submit papers.

In the keywords field, please let us know which broad category you feel you are most suited for, and then include, three keywords that best represent your topic.

Important Dates

Initial Proposals Due: February 6, 2015

Decisions: February 15, 2015

Full papers of 5000-7000 words: July 31, 2015

These will be circulated among participants and will be the basis of how we structure our conversations.

If you have questions, please contact Lisa Meloncon, symposium chair, at or Barbara Heifferon, program committee chair at