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The 6th Biennial D.C. Health Communication Conference (DCHC)

Preconference April 22, 2021

“COVID-19: Health Communication Imperatives and Contributions,”

Conference April 23-24, 2021

“Promoting Equity in Health Communication Research”

Virtual Conferencing hosted on Zoom

Dear Conference Participant:

Welcome to the 2021 D.C. (virtual) Conference on Health Communication. 2021 marks our 10th anniversary, and we have something special planned for the closing ceremony to mark the occasion. We are excited about continuing DCHC’s mission through our virtual environment. We have a conference filled with outstanding scholarship as we focus on equity in health communication research. The importance of your work cannot be overstated. The global COVID-19 crisis is a powerful testament to that fact.

It would be easy to say, “two years ago when we last met, we could not have imagined we would be running DCHC 2021 as a virtual conference.” And that is true. But it is also true that the pandemic was both foreseen and preventable. The COVID-19 pandemic illustrates the importance of communication to prevent and manage heath crises. And yet, here we are – our work cut out for us. Thursday’s pre-conference provides deep discussion about the current and potential contributions of health communication scholarship to understanding and overcoming the pandemic.

Friday, the first day of the main conference, does not begin as usual with our keynote address. Dr. Mohan Dutta will provide the conference keynote address at 3:00pm eastern time from his location in New Zealand. Dr. Dutta is Dean’s Chair Professor in the School of Communication, Journalism and Marketing and Director of the Center for Culture-Centered Approach to Research and Evaluation (CARE) at Massey University. Professor Dutta’s culture-centered approach to research examines culturally-based participatory strategies of radical democracy for addressing unequal health policies. I can think of no one better to address the issue of our conference theme, International and Global Health Communication Research, especially in an era when a global health crisis has brought such inequities around the world into sharp relief.

The sessions leading up to the keynote address provide a rich variety of compelling health communication research on a broad array of topics. As usual, our lunch break will be used to provide graduate student and early career scholar mentoring rounds. While we can’t provide lunches through Zoom, our virtual format will provide everything else that session has done for attendees in the past. We are pleased that many of our mentors from previous years are available to provide this session in 2021.

The Awards and Closing Ceremony on Saturday cannot provide a luncheon as usual, though we do hope that you will feel free to partake of a meal while you attend. The closing keynote address will be provided by our 2021 Atkin Translational Scholar Award winner, Dr. Kami Silk, Rosenberg Professor of Communication and the Chair of the Department of Communication at the University of Delaware. Dr. Silk will receive this award in recognition for her outstanding long-term program of community-based health communication research and intervention work that addresses important health risks in society. It is gratifying that Dr. Silk also has had a long history of working closely with Dr. Charles Atkin at Michigan State University on important projects that made significant contributions to society. Please plan to login to Dr. Silk’s talk to celebrate this and all our achievements.

We’ll be using #DCHC2021 during the conference to tweet about interesting talks and send out pictures. Please follow us and use the hashtag to tweet your own DCHC-related messages. Please tag @Mason_DCHC!

DCHC 2021 will be an exciting three days as participants come together virtually across the globe to discuss research, theory, and practice in health communication. We hope you’ll reconnect with old friends and make new ones, enjoy intellectually stimulating presentations and discussions, generate new ideas for research and collaborations, and have an overall outstanding conference experience.  Please consult our website dchc.gmu.edu or email our team at dchc@gmu.edu for information on the logistics of navigating our virtual conference sessions.

At the back of this program you will find a list of the people who helped to make DCHC 2021 happen. We’d like to especially thank the NIH Office of Behavioral and Social Science Research and the National Cancer Institute for including us in grant funding with our sister conference KCHC, Kevin Wright for leading the selection process of research for presentation, Gary Kreps for chairing the Atkin Award selection process and for having the vision to create this conference 10 years ago, and the Department of Communication for providing the organizational infrastructure support. We also would like to thank our outstanding group of presenters and all of our conference participants for joining us this year. Finally, special thanks go to members of the DCHC advisory board, our planning committee, and the wonderful faculty, staff, and graduate students who have given their time and effort to make this conference special.

If you have questions, email dchc@gmu.edu Their job is to ensure that your stay here goes smoothly. This program offers a complete conference schedule.

The faculty, staff, and students in the Department of Communication at George Mason University welcome you. We look forward to an exciting DCHC 2021!

Sincerely,

Anne M. Nicotera, DCHC Planning Committee Chair

Brittany Sanders, DCHC Manager and Webmaster