U of M News
March 28 Conference at U of M Will Explore Health and Rhetoric University News
For release: March 18, 2008

For press information, contact Simone Notter Wilson

The University of Memphis' Center for the Study of Rhetoric and Applied Communication (CSRAC) will hold its fourth annual conference March 28 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Fogelman Executive Conference Center, Room 215. The event is free and open to the public. This year's topic is “Health and Rhetoric." One of the University's research centers, CSRAC coordinates interdisciplinary projects and education in the Communication and English Departments and among different institutions in the Memphis area.

Conference speakers and their topics include: Athena DuPré, professor of communication at the University of West Florida, “Health Literacy Challenges: The Invisible Epidemic;" Judy Segal, professor of English at the University of British Columbia, “Public Function and the Rhetoric of Breast Cancer Narratives;" and Gary Gunderson, senior vice president of Health and Welfare Ministries for Methodist Healthcare, “Language for the Journey of Life."

“Effective communication among health care providers and in their interaction with patients is crucial," says Amanda Young, assistant professor of communication at the U of M. “However, these interactions also bear many communication challenges, such as unfamiliar terms, differing interpretations of symptoms, language barriers, cultural beliefs and customs, and differences in education, and socio-economic status, to name just a few."

The role of medical rhetoricians and health communication scholars is to study the strategies individuals and institutions use to navigate these communication challenges. Their work has impacted communication in such areas as preventive care, end-of-life care, pharmaceuticals, chronic pain, risk behaviors, and health and technology.

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