Health and risk masters launched


Ashland University (AU) has launched a new master’s program in health and risk communication. It is available now and can be studied online.

“This program aligns with the mission of the institution that focuses on helping to prepare health professionals to better serve the expanding health related agencies,” said AU provost Dr Frank Pettigrew.

“Since this program is completely online, we expect to get people from all different backgrounds participating in this program,” he added.

Dr Theodore Avtgis, chair and professor in the department of communication studies at AU, said the new online master’s program will provide students with a unique educational experience.

“We are addressing today’s job market demands with tomorrow’s skill sets. Health and risk communication is a hybrid of two separate areas in the discipline of communication studies,” Avtgis said. “Health communication deals with the interpersonal aspects of patient-provider interaction, the team aspects of healthcare delivery as well as the development and execution of healthcare campaigns.

“Risk communication is a separate entity that deals with the identification of potential threats, the addressing of current threats or crises, and eventually, threat containment and threat mitigation.”

Avtgis said the new program will feature noted scholars, or visiting graduate faculty, in the health and risk communication fields from throughout the country.

Dr Dariela Rodriguez, assistant professor in the Department of Communication Studies, added:

“Traditionally, health and risk communication have been treated as separate areas of study. However, in the post 9/11 environment, we are learning that health and safety are inextricably linked, you cannot separate those two anymore,” she said. “So while many communication studies programs continue to address these areas as separate, here at Ashland what we have done is created a program that reflects the current and future demands of the health and safety sectors.”




Ashland University, health and risk communication, Dr Frank Pettigrew