Preconference Planners and Moderator


Carla L Fisher

Keywords: family communication, breast cancer, cancer caregiving, cancer coping and social support, cancer risk reduction, mother-daughter communication, social support, interventions

Bio: Carla L. Fisher, Ph.D. is Associate Professor at the University of Florida, Full Member of the UF Health Cancer Center, and Affiliate Faculty with UF Center for Arts in Medicine. Her research focuses on the centrality of family communication to cancer risk and coping. Her funded research program on mother-daughter breast cancer communication has been recognized with multiple national awards. Fisher’s research collaborations have garnered more than $1.5 million in grant funding including federal awards from the National Cancer Institute (NCI), National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), National Institute on Aging (NIA), and the Department of Defense (DOD). She was an NIA Pre-doctoral Fellow/Trainee and received NIH post-doc summer intensive training. She currently is a multi-PI on an NIEHS R21, co-I on a DOD CDMRP grant, and a co-I or PI on several other privately or locally funded research studies.


Anne M. Nicotera

Keywords: Nursing communication, health-related organizational communication, communicative constitution of organization, structuration, conflict, culture

Anne Maydan Nicotera (PhD, Ohio University) is a Professor and Chair in the Department of Communication at George Mason University. Her research is grounded in a constitutive perspective and focuses on management/leadership communication, culture and conflict, diversity, race and gender, and aggressive communication, with a particular interest in healthcare organizations. Her research has been published in Management Communication Quarterly, Journal of Applied Communication Research, Health Communication, Nursing Administration Quarterly, and other outlets. She has also published five books and numerous chapters. She is active as a consultant, designing and delivering organizational communication based management and leadership training, with a special interest in the health sector and in serving professionals in the developing world.

Dr. Nicotera is the conference planning chair for the DC Health Communication (DCHC Biennial Conference Series), in partnership with the Kentucky Conference on Health Communication. A chief initiative under her leadership is the vision to launch the Social Science Clinical Research Alliance (SSCRA).

Nancy G. Harrington 

Keywords: Health communication, persuasive message design, tailored messaging, physician-patient communication

Nancy Grant Harrington (PhD, 1992, University of Kentucky) is Professor of Communication, Director of the Health Communication Research Collaborative, Associate Dean for Research in the College of Communication and Information, and University Research Professor at the University of Kentucky. She also holds an academic appointment in the School of Public Health and is a faculty associate of the Multidisciplinary Center on Drug and Alcohol Research. Dr. Harrington’s research focuses on persuasive message design in the health behavior change context, particularly as it relates to risk behavior prevention/health promotion. She has been a principal investigator, co-investigator, or principal evaluator on several NIH-funded and CDC-funded studies totaling nearly $9 million. She has published more than 70 journal articles or chapters in outlets such as Health Communication, Communication Monographs, Communication Yearbook, and Health Education & Behavior. She is co-editor of eHealth Applications: Promising Strategies for Behavior Change (Routledge, 2012) and editor of Health Communication: Theory, Method, and Application (Routledge, 2015). Dr. Harrington serves on the editorial boards of several journals, including Health Communication, Prevention Science, and Science Communication. She served as guest editor for special issues of Journal of Communication (“Communication Strategies to Reduce Health Disparities,” 2013) and Health Communication (“Message Design in Health Communication Research,” 2015). She served as chair to the Health Communication division of the National Communication Association from 2004-2005, and she is a founding member and steering committee member of the Society for Health Communication. She teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in persuasive message design, health communication, communication theory, and research methods.

Michele S. Schwietz

Michele Schwietz, (PhD, 2006, University of Pittsburgh)  Associate Dean for Research, enjoys working with faculty and staff to promote and support their involvement in research and scholarship. Drawing on more than 30 years of experience at two public, doctoral-granting universities, Michele comes to George Mason with an understanding of grant development and implementation, best practices in research administration, program development, research integrity, and graduate education.

Most recently, Michele served as Director of the Office of Sponsored Programs at the University of Northern Colorado (2009-2014) overseeing a “pre-award” to “post-award” office that provided proactive and collegial services designed to strengthen and expand research, scholarship and creative works on campus.

Prior to her work in Colorado, Michele held leadership positions at Indiana University of Pennsylvania (as Assistant Dean for Research, Interim Associate Dean for Research, Director of Grant Development, and Proposal Development Specialist) from 1982-2009.  Michele led the Research Division of the School of Graduate Studies and Research; chaired the IRB and promoted the responsible conduct of research; worked with faculty individually and with collaborative teams to prepare, submit and manage externally funded projects; was responsible for encouraging and supporting graduate and undergraduate research projects and presentations; and provided leadership on several university-wide initiatives such as the Middle States self-study for reaccreditation and the Undergraduate Scholars Forum.