Department of Communication
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Joy Goldsmith
Professor GoldsmithJoy V. Goldsmith
Assistant Professor

Degrees Held

B.A., 1992, Bethel College
M.S., 1995, Southern Illinois University
Ph.D., 2004, University of Oklahoma

Academic Summary

Joy Goldsmith, PhD, has been conducting research on communication and illness, specifically in the context of palliative care and hospice, for the last decade. Her numerous publications in clinical as well as communication journals address health communication training, oncology nurse training, interprofessional communication in health care, and family caregiver communication.

A long-time collaborator with a team of health communication and clinical scholars, she has co-authored four books including Communication as Comfort: Multiple Voices in Palliative Care (2008, Routledge Taylor and Francis), Dying with Comfort: Family Illness Narratives and Early Palliative Care (2010, Hampton Press), Communication in Palliative Nursing (2012, Oxford University Press), and Speaking of Dying, with Brazos Press (2012). Currently she holds a contract with Oxford University Press for the Textbook of Palliative Care Communication, to be released in 2015. Her work also can be found in Qualitative Health Research, Health Communication, Social Science and Medicine, American Journal of Hospice and Palliative Medicine, American Journal of Hospice and Palliative Nursing, Seminars in Oncology Nursing, Medical Teacher, and the Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing.

Joy is a regular speaker at national conferences, sharing COMFORT, a communication-driven training curriculum, with multidisciplinary health clinicians. She is co-founder and faculty for the Palliative Care Communication Institute, an organization that advances palliative care by fostering clinical communication practices for healthcare professionals, including nurses, physicians, social workers, chaplains, students, and other members of interprofessional healthcare teams. 

Courses Taught

Graduate Seminar in Health Communication
Dying and Death
Health Communication
Family Communication
Ethnography and Narrative Inquiry
Communication Theory
Research Methods

Major Publications

Goldsmith, J., Wittenberg-Lyles, E., Frisby, B., & Small Platt, C. (In press). The entry-level physical therapist: A case for COMFORT communication training. Health Communication.

Wittenberg-Lyles, E., Goldsmith, J., & Small Platt, C. (In press). Teaching, practicing, and learning palliative care communication. Seminars in Oncology Nursing.

Wittenberg-Lyles, E., Goldsmith, J., Ferrell, B., & Burchett, M. (2014). Assessment of an interprofessional on-line curriculum for palliative care communication training. Journal of Palliative Medicine, 4, 400-406. doi: 10.1089jpm.2013.0270

Goldsmith, J., Ferrell, B., Wittenberg-Lyles, E., & Ragan, S. (2013). Effective communication in palliative care. Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing, 17, 163-164. doi: 10.1188/13.CJON

Wittenberg-Lyles, E., Goldsmith, J., Ferrell, B. (2013). Oncology nurse communication barriers to patient-centered care. Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing, 17, 152-158. doi: 10.1188/13.CJON

Goldsmith, J., Wittenberg-Lyles, E., Shaunfield, S., & Sanchez-Reilly, S. (2011). Unfolding case responses to a palliative appropriate patient: A reflective practice dilemma when the case does not fit the algorithm. American Journal of Hospice and Palliative Medicine, 28, 286-241. doi:10.1177/1049909110385670.

Goldsmith, J., Wittenberg-Lyles., E., Rodriguez, D., & Sanchez-Reilly, S. (2010). Interdisciplinary geriatric and palliative care team narratives: Collaboration practices and barriers. Qualitative Health Research, 20(1), 94-104. doi: 10.1177/1049732309355287.

Wittenberg-Lyles, E., Goldsmith, J., Ragan, S. & Sanchez-Reilly, S. (2008). Communicating a terminal prognosis in a palliative care setting: Deficiencies in current communication training protocols. Social Science and Medicine, 66(11), 2356-2365.

Honors & Awards

In the fall of 2013, Joy was awarded the Distinguished Scholarly Book Award by the National Communication Association Division of Health Communication for Communication as Comfort: Multiple Voices in Palliative Care. She also received the National Communication Association Division of Applied Communication Distinguished Scholarly Book Award in 2012 for Dying with Comfort: Family Illness Narratives and Early Palliative Care, published by Hampton Press. The Academy of Parish Clergy selected her co-authored volume, Speaking of Dying: Recovering the Church’s Voice in the Face of Death, with Brazos Press, as one of the Top 10 Books of the 2012-2013 year. Using Medical Words with Family Caregivers, an article in the Journal of Palliative Medicine, was selected as a Top-Paper in Translational Research at the D.C. Health Communication Conference in March, 2013. Joy and her co-authors were awarded the National Communication Division of Health Communication Distinguished Scholarly Article Award in 2009, as well as the Top Paper award in Health Communication for the Eastern Communication Association. 

Professional Activity

Her professional activity centers on a commitment to translational research. Joy and her team members distribute the first communication-based and disseminated research offered for continuing education credit in medicine, nursing, social work, and pharmacy. Continuing Education credit is available for clinicians in journals, conferences, teleconference broadcast series, and dedicated curriculum modules that are housed on CECentral, as well as MedEd Portal. The web-based modules have been accessed by several thousand practitioners since they went live in 2012. Her newest resource addition is the iOS APP Health Communication, which offers a communication toolkit for difficult interactions. The APP is the first of its kind, for use by health care providers.

Phone: 901-678-5458

Fax: 901-678-4331


Office: ACB 235

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Last Updated: 12/5/14