Professor Susan Mello, Assistant Professor of Communications Studies, recently participated in the National Communication Association (NCA)’s Virtual Public Program entitled The Politics of Health and Healthcare: Communicating about Health in a Presidential Election Year. This special episode of Communication Matters: The NCA Podcast featured a panel of health communication experts and was moderated by NCA Executive Director Trevor Parry-Giles. The panelists addressed a variety of timely topics related to healthcare, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the presidential election. They included the politicization of COVID-19 communication, the role of educators in countering misinformation about the pandemic, how journalists can respond to the spread of misinformation, and how exposure to political rhetoric about the virus has influenced voters.
In addition to Professor Mello, the NCA panel featured Ambar Basu, Professor, Department of Communication, University of South Florida; Eduardo J. Gómez, Associate Professor, College of Health, Lehigh University; and Heather Zoller, Professor, Department of Communication, University of Cincinnati.
Professor Mello’s research interests lie at the intersection of risk perception, health communication, and the environment. Her recent work explores how exposure to risk information in the media, specifically about environmental toxins, COVID-19, and cancer, impacts individual perceptions and protective health behaviors. Her research has been published in Journal of Health Communication, Risk Analysis, and Nicotine & Tobacco Research, among other journals, and she has peer-reviewed research proposals for Cancer Research UK and the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA).