Prof Young

Amanda J. Young


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I joined the Communication Department at the University of Memphis in 2004. Prior to that, I was the director of communication research at the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System. I teach graduate seminars in health communication, health literacy, and public health communication, as well as undergraduate courses in health communication, healthy literacy, communication ethics, and communication inquiry. My research focuses on patient/provider communication, particularly in adolescent chronic illness and in the Intensive Care Unit.


PhD, Rhetoric, Carnegie Mellon University
MA, Technical and Professional Writing, Eastern Washington University
BS, English Composition, Davis and Elkins College

Research Interests

I use qualitative research methods to study health literacy and patient-provider communication in a variety of settings, including cystic fibrosis, contraceptive counseling, the ICU, and cancer.

Selected Publications

Goldsmith, J., Young, A., & Powell, P. Plain language and health literacy for the oncology family caregiver: Examining an English/Spanish mHealth resource. Seminars in Oncology Nursing. In press.

Young, A. J., Stephens, E., & Goldsmith, J. V. (2017). Family caregiver communication in the ICU: Toward a relational view of health literacy. Journal of Family Communication, 17(2), 137-152. DOI: 10.1080/15267431.2016.1247845

Young, A. J. (2015). Breathe. Health Communication 31, in press

Piazza-Bonin, E., Neimeyer, R., A., Burke, L., A., McDevitt-Murphy, M., & Young, A. (2015). Disenfranchised grief following African American homicide loss: An inductive case study. Omega: Journal of Death & Dying, 70(4), 404-427. doi:10.1177/0030222815573727

Burke, L. A., Neimeyer, R. A., Young, A. J., Piazza-Bonin, & Davis, N. L. (2014). Complicated spiritual grief II: A deductive inquiry following the loss of a loved one. Death Studies, 38(4), 268-281. doi:10.1080/07481187.2013.829373

Young, AJ. (2014). Contraception. In Encyclopedia of Health Communication, T. Thompson, ed., p. 258-261.

Young AJ, Kim L, Li S, Baker J, Schmidt M, Camp JW, & Barfield RC. (2010). Agency and communication challenges in discussion of informed consent in pediatric cancer research. Qualitative Health Research 20; 628-643

Gold, M. A., Sheftel, A. V., Chiappetta, L., Young, A. J., Zuckoff, A., DiClemente, C. C., & Primack, B. A. (2010). Associations between religiosity and sexual and contraceptive behaviors. Journal of pediatric and adolescent gynecology, 23(5), 290-297.

Young AJ. (2008). Disciplinary rhetorics, rhetorical agency, and the construction of voice. In: Johnstone B, Eisenhart C, editors. Rhetoric in Detail: Discourse Analytic Approaches to Rhetorical Text and Talk. Philadelphia (PA): John Benjamins Press; 2008.

Kim L, Young AJ, Neimeyer RA, Barfield R, & Baker J. (2008). Keeping users at the center: Developing a multimedia interface for informed consent. Technical Communication Quarterly 17 (3): 335-357. Special issue on Online Health Communication, Amy Koerber and Brian Still, Eds.

Young AJ and Rodriguez KL. (2006). The role of narrative in end-of-life care: eliciting values and goals from text, subtext, and context. Health Communication 19 (1): 49-59.

Young AJ, Ofori-Boeteng T, Rodriguez KR, and Plowman, J. (2003). Meaning and agency in discussing end-of-life care: a study of elderly veterans' values and interpretations. Qualitative Health Research. 13.8; 1-24.

Young AJ and Flower LF. (2002). Patients as partners; patients as problem solvers. Health Communication, 14.1; 69-98.

Zerbe, M, Young, AJ, Nagelhout, E. (1998). The rhetoric of fraud in breast cancer trials: Manifestations in medical journals and the mass media — and missed opportunities. Journal of Technical Writing and Communication, 28.1; 39-61.

Public Service

Community volunteering in healthcare contexts, faith-based organizations, and animal rescue.

Grants and Grant Consulting

2017-2018. Co-Investigator. Developing a Nurse and Volunteer Delivered Communication Intervention for African American Oncology Family Caregivers. PI: Joy Goldsmith. University of Memphis Research Investment Fund Catalyst Grant.

2016-2018. Co-Investigator. Contraception Uptake among an Urban, Lower Socioeconomic Group of Adolescents and Provider Attitudes about Counseling this Population. PI: Owen Philips, MD, University of TN Health Sciences Center.

2013-2014. Principal Investigator. Illness Narratives by Adolescents with Cystic Fibrosis. University of Memphis Faculty Research Grant.

2010 – 2012. Principal Investigator. Narratives of Care in the Intensive Care Unit: Communication Challenges in Promoting Timely Palliative Care Services. The DAISY Foundation. $5000

2007 – 2011. Principal Investigator: Studying Communication Barriers at Methodist University Hospital. Funded by The Methodist Foundation. $6000

2004 – 2009.P rincipal Investigator. Tobacco Free Memphis. Centers for Disease Control, via Memphis/Shelby County Department of Health. $40,000 a year for 4 years.

2006 – 2007. Principal Investigator: Faculty Research Grant, University of Memphis
Formative Research to Explore Patient Assent at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. $6500

2006—2007. Co-Investigator. NIAAA. R21 AA015666-01
Alcohol Use & HIV: Developing Computerized Interventions. $250,000

2003 – 2007. Consultant. NICHD/NIAID, 1 R01 HD/AI41058-01A1
Computer-Aided Counseling to Prevent Teen Pregnancy/STDs. Grant was for $2.5 million.

2005 – 2006. Co-Investigator. The Greenwall Foundation. Developing Interactive Media Support for Informed Consent in Pediatric Phase I Clinical Trials. $80,000.

2001 – 2004. Co-Principal Investigator. Competitive Pilot Project Fund (CPPF), CPPF, VISN 4, VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System. Understanding the Connection between Patient Beliefs and Medications. $25,000.

2000 – 2003. Co-Principal Investigator. Competitive Pilot Project Fund (CPPF), Veterans Integrated Service Network (VISN) 4. A Pilot Study of Communication in Preparing and Understanding Advance Directives. $25,000.

2000. Co-Investigator. Veterans Research Foundation of Pittsburgh. Use of an Interactive Program to Assess and Counsel Patients with Alcohol Problems. $25,000.


Currently advisor for Lambda Pi Eta, honor society for communication studies students
Chair and member of multiple search committees, including the search for a department chair
Served as Coordinator of Graduate Studies for 3.5 years
Served on curriculum committee for Masters of Public Health Program and the Behavior and Social Sciences track in the PhD program in the School of Public Health
Served as a reviewer for two years for University of Memphis Faculty Research Grants