Public Health Seminar Series:

Communicating Public Health Messages In The Age of Choice, Uncertainty, and Complexity by Suellen Hopfer, Ph.D.

Thursday, March 19, 2015 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM 2080 AIRB, 653 East Peltason Drive OCW Video Archive
Seminar Abstract

Advancing health message design, whether communicating vaccine messages, genomic information, or the health relevance of climate change effectively, requires developing and applying theoretical principles of health communication. Narrative theory is one such principle that guides the design of culture-centric health messages to engage and hold the attention of specific audiences. This talk focuses on a narrative communication model for health decision-making that was developed and tested through a series of studies on HPV vaccination. The intervention developed from this theoretical framework resulted in the near doubling of HPV vaccination among young adult women. Mediation analyses were conducted to provide insight into mechanisms that explain how and when narrative health messages may prove to be advantageous in reaching resistant or low awareness audiences.

Speaker Biography - Suellen Hopfer, Ph.D.

Suellen Hopfer, Ph.D.
Suellen Hopfer, Ph.D. Research Scientist, REAL PREVENTION, University Park, Pennsylvania
Dr. Hopfer’s research encompasses health risk communication and decision-making across three content areas: (a) vaccine communication (b) genomic communication and, (c) climate change. Additionally, her expertise encompasses health message design and designing prevention interventions. Her educational training includes a masters degree in genetic counseling with nearly a decade of experience as clinician, doctoral training in health communication, and post-doctorate training in advanced methodologies as well as longitudinal data to address prevention research questions. She received a CDC public health fellowship to design a culture-centric HPV vaccine intervention that significantly increased vaccine uptake. Future plans include replicating and extending these findings as part of a multi-site study using a multi-phase optimization strategy (MOST) to identify the combination of intervention components that drive intervention effects. Additionally, Dr. Hopfer has a federally funded project to reach underserved, minority women with prevention messages about HPV vaccination. This project will use a kiosk smartphone information system that not only effectively engages target audiences, but reaches individuals after they leave the clinic with tailored prevention text messages. Finally, Dr. Hopfer is working on data from national surveys to (a) identify and classify latent subgroups of HPV health care provider communication, (b) identify and develop a typology of parental vaccine refusal claims to better understand and design more effective vaccine messages, (c) identify latent subgroups of climate change attitudes and test whether personal experiences with climate change events predicts climate change beliefs and attitudes, and (d) identify and characterize genetic counselor subgroups with respect to their counseling styles and approaches to varying levels of uncertainty.

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