Health and communication are two topics that do not seemingly go together, but Dr. Parul Jain devotes her research to both subjects simultaneously in an effort to bridge the gap. With the continued advancement in media technology and the pervasiveness of social media combined with the ever-changing healthcare industry, she works to create an understanding of both subjects and how they work together.
Dr. Jain’s research focuses on health communication; more specifically, her interests lie in understanding media effects and processes in the area of health. Her work concentrates on how to best employ social media and traditional media for enhancing health behavior and promotion to reduce health inequality. In that respect, she studies doctor-patient communication, especially in intercultural contexts.
“Employing theories from mass and health communication and social psychology and by creating campaigns rooted in thorough formative research that undergo periodic evaluation can help spread the message effectively. With the advent of social media technologies, knowing how to effectively engage audience and tracking that progress by continuous evaluation might prove to be a powerful tool in dissemination of health messages,” Dr. Jain said.
With the understanding that everyone thinks about health and the knowledge that media technology is ever-present, Dr. Jain decided to merge her two interests by focusing her dissertation on the television series ER and issues of patient-provider communication and international doctors. Similarly, another project focused on sexual health issues in the show Sex and the City. More of her recent work looks at opiate abuse coverage in media, which she has found to be a prevalent issue throughout Appalachia and the communities that surround Athens.
As social media and other media technologies continue to grow and advance, Dr. Jain said it’s rare to find health campaigns in social media that do a good job of employing theories and principles of audience engagement, listening, monitoring, and other related concepts well. She sees a need for scholarly attention, especially strategic communication, on prescription drug abuse.
Before coming to teach at Ohio University, Dr. Jain taught at Washington State University, The Ohio State University, and Texas A&M University. She has been the recipient of multiple honors and awards, a few of which include: Top Paper Award (first author) from AEJMC Conference (2016); Top 4 Paper (first author) from the International Communication Association (2011); she was competitively selected for a presentation at the 2009 National Communication Association’s Doctoral Honors Seminar.
She has written and revised many blind refereed publications and refereed conference papers, including Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media, Health Communication, Journal of Communication in Healthcare: Strategies, Media and Engagement in Global Health, and Journal of Communication.
She earned her Ph.D. in Communication from The Ohio State University (2011); a M.A. in Communication from Wake Forest University (May 2006); a Post Graduate Diploma in Business Management in Marketing (equivalent to M.B.A. in the US) from Fore School of Management, New Delhi (2001); and a B.S. (honors) in Botany from the University of Delhi (1997).