Professor Susana Ramirez, UC Merced
The past two decades have seen a meteoric rise in the overall amount of health information available to individuals. Coupled with a deliberate cultural shift toward a health care model featuring patients as active participants in their own medical decision-making, access to a rich information environment – and the ability to make sense of it – is an increasingly important path to health. Mass media may constitute an important source for information dissemination in rural regions with geographically-dispersed populations. However, the unequal distribution of health information is compounded in rural regions that face multiple barriers to health, thus contributing to rather than reducing disparities. Professor Ramírez will discuss a set of projects that aim to improve the availability and quality of health information in the San Joaquin Valley as a strategy to combat health disparities.
Dr. Ramírez is currently an Assistant Professor of Public Health Communication at the University of California in Merced. Her research focuses on communication in the service of social justice and health equity. Currently funded research examines the feasibility of using mobile phones for tailored behavior change communications, understanding communication barriers to health decision-making, and developing a multilevel communication strategy to create a culture of health. Dr. Ramírez earned a PhD in Communication from the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania, a Master of Public Health from Harvard University.