Master of Science in Health Communication
online program

What is health communication? Health communication is the intersection of multiple disciplines that include health care, marketing, and public relations, to name a few. A single health communication campaign can cross cultures and media channels. Health communicators cover countless topics, such as medical breakthroughs, the development of new products, government policies, and more. What we’re most excited about is where this field is headed next. That’s why we created this degree. It’s the first of its kind, delivered like only we can. Learn more about our program.
Is this degree for you? Are you an independent thinker? Do you also enjoy collaborating? We designed this degree for aspiring and experienced communicators, health advocates, PR specialists, media mavens, and health care pros. We know our students come from different disciplines and career stages, but all share a common motivation: Our students come to BU confidently, knowing they can receive a rigorous education that moves them in the direction of their dreams. See if BU is right for you.
Why do students study health communication at BU? Our students are naturally drawn to the fields of health and communication. We know they find the work interesting, educational, and fulfilling. Yet their talent and passion are not enough. That’s why they turn to us. The task of shaping health knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors demands a mix of strategy, tactics, art, and science. Health communication is a complex challenge—and our students want to master it. We teach them how it’s done. Check out our student spotlights.
News & Announcements Here’s where you’ll find important insights into the changing health communication landscape. Check back often and learn what’s making headlines in health care and emerging global health issues. We’ll break down the content with actionable advice to help you in your communications career. Join in the conversation.

Health Communication

Program Benefits Curriculum Prospective Students Careers

Take care of your talent.

Why take the Master of Science in Health Communication online program? It can transform your talent. It can change your very understanding of—and influence in—communications, PR, advertising, marketing, health sciences, and public health. It can help you gain highly relevant and practical knowledge that’s characteristic of leaders in these dynamic fields. Enroll in this first of its kind master’s program and discover how it can help set you apart in today’s competitive world. Start Your Application Today »

Why choose BU?

  • Earn your degree through BU’s esteemed Metropolitan College (MET) in partnership with the College of Communication (COM).
  • Develop a multidisciplinary blend of knowledge and skill to become a well-rounded and highly impactful health communications professional.
  • Study under academic and industry leaders from distinct disciplines that cover multiple avenues of the profession, including health sciences, communications, interactive marketing, public relations, advertising, and digital media.
  • Expect academic rigor and hands-on skills in the varied areas of communication to create a quality education, which is one of the keys to staying professionally relevant, especially in fast-evolving industries like communications and health care.
Highly Relevant and Practical Knowledge

Flexible Curriculum

  • Focus on 1 course at a time and complete the program in as few as 18 months.
  • Enjoy a break between each semester.
  • Choose from 6 start dates per year in spring, summer, or fall.
  • Learn anywhere, anytime with tech support available 7 days a week.

Master’s in Health Communication | Degree Requirements

A total of 10 courses (40 credits) are required to graduate.

Complete The Program in As Few As 18 Months
  • MET HC 750 American Health Care System for Health Communicators
  • MET HC 751 Epidemiology for the Health Communicator
  • MET HC 752 The Biology of Disease
  • MET HC 755 Contemporary Health Care Marketing
  • MET HC 756 Contemporary Public Relations
  • MET HC 757 Interactive Marketing Communications
  • MET HC 758 Media Relations
  • MET HC 759 Health Communication
  • MET HC 760 Communication Research for Health Communicators
  • MET HC 761 Advanced Writing for Health Communicators
  • Optional Courses
  • MET HC 753 Nutrition and Health for Communicators
  • MET HC 754 Ethical Issues
  • A vital component of the Health Communication curriculum, this course explores the health care system in terms of 1) communication within organizations, resources, and processes that constitute structure and operations; 2) relationships among stakeholders that shape it; and 3) resulting policies that impact system performance and influence the future of health care. Given the complexity and dynamics of the health care environment, an understanding of related issues at all levels is essential for effective communication and prevention of error within health care organizations. Without it, organizations must react defensively to environmental and political threats, often at the expense of patient safety and well-being; with it, organizations can act strategically to maximize growth opportunities and anticipate those forces that influence policy. The course draws upon multiple perspectives, including health communication in medicine and public health, health management (access, quality, and cost), politics, healthcare ethics, law, and the complexities of cross-cultural and psychosocial considerations within
    today’s health care system.
  • The purpose of this course is to introduce the basic principles and methods of epidemiology and demonstrate their applicability in the field of public health. A further objective is to provide an introduction to the basic skills needed to critically interpret the epidemiologic literature relevant to public health professionals.
  • This course provides a foundation in the biological mechanisms and principles underlying major health problems. Selected health problems are explored from a biological perspective in order to provide fundamental information about infectious and non-infectious agents of disease, disease transmission, biological defense mechanisms, co-evolution of man and microbes, the effects of nutritional deficiency and excess, effects of respiratory exposures, the biology of cancer, aging, and other topics. Each student completing this course should be able to knowledgeably participate in a discussion of related health problems with a basic understanding of the terminology and the underlying biological mechanisms.
  • This course provides an in-depth understanding of the essential concepts of marketing and their application to health care. The course prepares students with a working knowledge of marketing tools (such as pricing, promotion, channels, consumer behavior, brand equity, and segmentation) and how to use them. The course focuses on practical applied skills in analyzing marketing problems and developing marketing programs and strategies, with particular attention to health care and its organizational structures, financing, technologies, market demands, laws, and regulations. An expansion of student understanding of the differences and similarities between marketing in for-profit and not-for-profit health care organizations, and an increase of the appreciation of the role of data collection, analysis, interpretation, and management in marketing decisions are major objectives of this course.
  • This course provides an overview of the professional principles and practices in public relations for corporate, governmental, agency, and nonprofit organizations. It includes history, organization, and scope of the public relations field; its roots in social science; types of campaigns and programs; and professional ethics.
  • This course provides an overview of the theories, practices, and techniques in the emerging field of interactive marketing communication (IAMC).  The course will explore almost all the ways interactive marketing can be practiced via the Internet: historical introduction, dotcom era, basic principles, database marketing, e-mail, search (SEO & SEM/PPC), display advertising, social networking, gaming, mobile, et al.
  • In this course publicity techniques used in mass media communication, including working with daily and weekly newspapers, magazines, radio, television, film, and online media are explored. The course examines the principles and practices of working with mass media “gatekeepers” to accomplish campaign objectives as well as strategies and tactics for communicating directly with audiences through new media. Knowledge and skills related to the production and use of media relations tools with a focus on health communication are presented. Case studies are employed to understand the challenges and opportunities inherent in working with mass media as well as the special demands and practices associated with crisis communication. The course also explores the emerging role of interactive and social media.
  • Health Communication is an emerging field in which professional communicators and health providers inform, influence, and motivate individual, institutional, governmental, and public audiences about important health issues. This course examines and bridges the theory and practice of interpersonal, organizational, mass communication, and new media relevant to the professional communicator and health practitioner alike. It reviews strategies of persuasion, the relationship between attitudes and health behavior through the lifespan, and the changing nature of health and health delivery from local to global arenas, and it evaluates successful and unsuccessful health information campaigns in both traditional health care approaches as well as in an evolving health care marketplace.
  • This course introduces students to the methodology of communication research. Particular attention will be paid to pre- and post-campaign communication research. The course includes both qualitative and quantitative approaches. The nature of scientific logic, computer literature searches, research design, questionnaire construction, sampling, measurement techniques, and data analysis are examined. The course will also explore the use of focus groups, experiments, surveys, and content analysis to inform and evaluate health communication campaigns.
  • Clear and persuasive writing is arguably the most fundamental tool in the contemporary health communicator’s toolbox. Essential writing qualities including clarity, cohesion, and concision will be emphasized throughout this course alongside advanced grammar, sentence structure, and writing mechanics. The course aims to build advanced writing knowledge and skill upon the foundation each student brings to the classroom. Students will be exposed to a variety of traditional and online writing formats common to the field of health communication. Students will be required to analyze diverse audiences and refine writing strategies, style, vocabulary and levels of formality to accommodate each audience. Extensive writing, rewriting, and editing of assignments are required.
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  • The course provides an introduction to concepts in human nutrition and their application in the area of public health. In addition to providing basic information regarding nutrients, the design of practical diets that promote health throughout the life cycle will be discussed. Subjects such as tools for healthy eating, nutrition policy, and hot topics related to nutrition will also be reviewed.
  • This course applies the core principles of bioethics to ethical dilemmas that arise in the context of public health, individualized medicine, and the provision of health care services in order to provide students with the tools necessary (i) to identify the stakeholders and their respective interests; (ii) to analyze those dilemmas from the perspectives of the various stakeholders; (iii) to think critically about the way public policy and public perceptions about the issues are shaped and thus (iv) to become effective agents of information concerning these kinds of controversies.

Take care of your success.

Success is a personal path. If you’re like many of our students, your reasons for exploring this program run deeper than career advancement, although that is certainly part of it. Often, your personal experiences combined with your professional interests motivate your most important life pursuits—such as graduate education. Our master’s in health communication program, offered fully online, is dually designed for experienced health communicators and those looking to transition into the role.

BU takes it just as
seriously as if we
were in the classroom.
I wanted a challenge,
and I got it here.

Lesley McMillen
2011 Grad
  • Are you currently working as a health communicator?
  • Are you a communications professional looking
    to specialize?
  • Do you currently work in health care in a non-communication role?
  • Are you ready for a career change?
  • As someone who currently works in health care communications, you have a front row seat to the changing landscape—and you know change will continue to happen. That’s why now is an ideal time to step up, elevate your thinking, and refresh your existing capabilities. Our curriculum is designed to give you deeper knowledge and a wide-lens understanding to employ in your future communication campaigns and strategies. Pursuing this program can help accelerate your professional growth in ways that are both tactical and high level. Nothing can provide validation at the organizational level (especially in health care) like advanced academic credentials from an esteemed institution such as Boston University.
    Apply today.
  • Whether you have experience in public relations, advertising, marketing, or journalism, your career stands to benefit when you specialize your talent in today’s converging communications field. Our curriculum is professionally relevant and designed based on the multidisciplinary expertise of our industry-experienced faculty. We provide flexibility in course options and depth of knowledge in each to help you develop new skills, improve job stability, gain knowledge for future career advancement, and find personal fullfillment. Pursuing this program can enhance your professional experience and solidify your credentials. Be more than a communications professional. Be a subject matter expert.  Apply today.
  • You already know firsthand the challenges and rewards of working in health care. Now is the time—and this is the program—to broaden your professional scope while leveraging your current experience in the field. Our program has attracted a diversity of health care professionals, including RNs, dieticians, non-profit associates, and medical sales representatives. As the health care system has evolved, a career in health communications has become an increasingly meaningful way to care for people. Start your application today. 
  • The MSHC program accepts highly motivated individuals from non-health related roles who wish to build on their professional experience with new knowledge and skills. Entering the health communication field with a unique background and solid education credentials from BU can go a long way toward strengthening your marketability. Along with a passion for creating meaning through words and images and a love of learning, it takes a certain amount of confidence to change careers. These are traits that can serve you well in the field of health communication. Let’s get started. 

Take care of your career ambitions.

A career in health communication is for the ambitious. Positioned at the intersection of two of the most rapidly changing fields on the planet—health care and communication—this career field demands constant learning. That’s why we love it.

What can you do with a master’s degree in health communication? A lot.
Whenever there is a significant medical research breakthrough, a groundbreaking new product, a new government regulation, or a release of an all-important report on global trends or local initiatives, you spread the word. You strategize, execute, and then evaluate targeted communications campaigns. You can influence the way individuals as well as entire organizations think, feel, and act in regard to their health. Are you ready?

Take a look below at what a few of our graduates are up to these days. You can also check out our student spotlights to learn more about our MSHC grads and discover how this program benefited their careers.

  • Wellness Manager, Trish Salomon, Bemis Company, Inc.
  • Communication Director, Adjoa Adofo, U.S. House of Representatives
  • Consultant/Project Management PR and Marketing, Kathy Kraines, Gaylord Hospital
  • Health Communications Consultant, Sports Dietician, and Certified Diabetes Educator, Arielle Dani Lebovitz
  • Founding Director of Porter Novelli’s Global Health Care Practice, and former Head of Health Care Strategy for Ogilvy Public Relations, Michael Durand
  • Clinical Affairs Program Manager, Kathleen Pietrovito, AngioDynamics
  • Senior Director of Communications, Marketing & Technology, Meghan DeCagna, American Medical Student Association (AMSA)
  • Project Manager and Communications Specialist and featured Blogger, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Foundation of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, Jamie Rauscher
This Career Demands Constant Learning. That's Why We Love It.

About BU

About Boston University Accreditation & Rankings Student Support Online Learning at BU

About Boston University

Founded in 1839, Boston University is an internationally recognized private research university with nearly 300,000 students participating in undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs. BU consists of 16 schools and colleges, along with a number of multidisciplinary centers and institutes that are central to the University’s research and teaching mission.

Boston University is the fourth largest private university in the United States and was recently ranked by Times Higher Education as 50th in the world.

Boston University has become the most recent member of the Association of American Universities (AAU), an elite organization of 62 leading research universities in the United States and Canada, founded in 1900. BU is the fourth university to be invited into the AAU since 2000. In the Boston area, only Harvard, MIT, and Brandeis are also members.

About Metropolitan College

Metropolitan College, one of Boston University’s 16 degree-granting schools and colleges, was established in 1965. The College demonstrates excellence in teaching and research, with over 60 undergraduate and graduate degree and certificate programs, offered full time and part time in convenient evening, online, and blended formats. There are nearly 30,000 Metropolitan College alumni worldwide.

About College of Communication

In 1947, Boston University founded the first academic program in the United States in public relations. Boston University also has the distinct honor of granting the first Master of Science degree in Public Relations. Many of the College of Communication programs are revered as the best in the nation as well as internationally. The school boasts a current enrollment of more than 2,200 students, 165 faculty members, and 21,000 alumni worldwide.

Boston University Is The Fourth Largest Private University In The United States

Accreditation

As part of Boston University, Metropolitan College is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC), one of six nationally recognized accrediting agencies.

NEA S&C

Rankings & Honors

U.S. News
  • BU places 41stin the U.S. News & World Report rankings of national universities and 50th in the World University Rankings by Times Higher Education.
  • AAU: Boston University is a member of the Association of American Universities (AAU), an elite organization of 62 leading research universities in the United States and Canada.
  • The U.S. Distance Learning Association (USDLA) honored BU in 2011 with the 21st Century Best Practices Award.
  • BU received the award for Excellence in Institution-Wide Online Education from the Sloan Consortium (Sloan-C®).
  • BU is recognized as a Top 100 graduate university (QS Quacquarelli Symonds rankings).
  • Newsweek features BU as the 35th best university in the U.S. and the 5th best university in the world.
  • BU was named “Best in the Northeast” college by The Princeton Review.
  • The Center for Measuring University Performance places Boston University among the Top 50 research universities in the nation.
  • BU was named 15th best school in the U.S.; 34th best school in the world; and 15th best U.S. school for the professional future of its alumni (“The Professional Ranking of World Universities,” by Ecole de mines de Paris).
  • The Institute of Higher Education at Shanghai Jiao Tong University ranked Boston University among the Top 100 universities in the world and among the Top 50 best overall universities.

Why choose BU for your digital learning experience?

You will meet many members of the BU community in this program. Some of these people you will meet online, and some you will communicate with by email and phone. Others are busy behind the scenes, including a team of instructional designers, video producers, and support staff who specialize in online education.

Achieve Academic Excellence.
  • Getting Started
  • Your Enrollment Advisor
  • Course Support
  • Getting Started

    Boston University is committed to helping you achieve academic excellence. From the application process through graduation, a team of dedicated and passionate people are available to respond to your questions, comments, and concerns. Beyond coursework, students typically have many questions and may experience life challenges on the way to obtaining a higher education degree. The close collaboration of the office of Distance Education, Metropolitan College, and the College of Communication enables you to access unprecedented student support online and by phone to help guide you through each phase of your journey. Communicate and collaborate with fellow students and alumni, discuss what courses best fit your needs, or reach out for technical support day or night. Whatever you need, whenever you need it, support is always there.

    Your Enrollment Advisor, Anne Ellis, is available to help guide you through the application process. She will provide you with an overview of the Master of Science in Health Communication program and answer any questions you have pertaining to admission requirements, tuition and funding, curriculum, online learning, and your application. Anne will work with you through each step of your enrollment journey, answering your questions throughout.

  • Your Enrollment Advisor

    anne-ellis

    Your Enrollment Advisor, Anne Ellis, is available to help guide you through the application process. She will provide you with an overview of the Master of Science in Health Communication program and answer any questions you have pertaining to admission requirements, tuition and funding, curriculum, online learning, and your application. Anne will work with you through each step of your enrollment journey, answering your questions throughout.

  • Course Support

    Our classes are divided into small groups of no more than 15 students, and are led by an instructional team made up of:

    Your Professor has primary responsibility for the course and is responsible for ensuring the learning objectives of the course are met You’ll hear periodically from your instructor, and he or she is available to answer questions about the course as needed You will see your professor in the videos, animations, and if applicable to your class, in periodic live classroom sessions.

    Your Facilitator is your daily point of contact for the course. We carefully select our facilitators for their subject matter expertise and their commitment to helping their assigned students be successful. Your facilitator’s role is to guide you and your small group, and to stimulate lively discussions around academics; answer your questions; and grade exercises, discussions, term projects, or exams. If you ask your facilitator a question by email, you should get a response within 24 hours, usually faster. If you need an answer in a hurry, post the question to the discussion board, where the professor, all of the facilitators, and your fellow students will see it.

    Your Student Service Coordinator, Chantal Horgan, ensures you have all the information and resources you need to start the program successfully and to assure you that a little bit of anxiety is normal for anyone beginning graduate studies. Chantal is available to help with any non-academic questions you may have. She can also help if you’d like to talk to someone about how the program works, what to expect, and how to prepare.

    Your Online Coordinator, Nadine Hyacinthe, administers the academic aspects of the program, including admissions and registration. You can ask Nadine questions about the program, registration, course offerings, graduation, or any other academic program-related topic.

    Your Online MSHC Program Coordinators, Professor Steve Quigley and Professor Dominic Screnci, work closely with other MSHC faculty to ensure the same high-caliber learning for which Boston University is well-known throughout the world. To do so, they strive to create a rigorous yet interactive learning experience that maximizes your potential.

Why choose BU for your digital learning experience?
It’s award-winning.

We’re proud of the fact that the U.S. Distance Learning Association (USDLA) honored BU with the 2011 21st Century Best Practices Award. Such recognition is presented to pioneering organizations that have changed online education. Whatever other universities are doing in online learning, we aim to do it better. We are Boston University.

The MSHC program also received the Silver Award for Distance Learning Programming from the USDLA in 2010, noting its innovative program design.

The master’s in health communication online program utilizes the highest level of digital learning technology available today. Take a closer look at what goes into making BU’s Online Campus a digital learning experience like no other.

A Digital Learning Experience Like No Other.
  • Welcome to the
    Online Campus
  • Learning that fits
    your lifestyle
  • A small group facilitator
    for each class
  • Practical knowledge for
    your future
  • Help Desk Support
  • Welcome to the Online Campus

    The program’s digital learning space, Online Campus, is the center of the learning experience. Here, you will access course information, communicate with your instructor and fellow learners, take quizzes, post assignments, and view grades; it’s all within reach—wherever you are. This highly interactive educational platform uses the highest quality multi-media to make your learning experience as engaging as it is effective. Online Campus provides a framework for the highest quality of communication and interaction among you, your instructor, and your fellow learners. Best of all, most of the course content is also available in a mobile application.

    Before you begin, you’ll complete a helpful student orientation to guide you through how to use Online Campus. Even if it has been awhile since you’ve been in “class,” we’ll teach you how to use the system and provide helpful study tips.

  • Learning that fits your lifestyle

    BU has a convenient online bookstore where you can order any required course materials to supplement the virtual experience in Online Campus. Shipping is available directly to the location of your choosing. To ensure that you remain completely up to date, the course schedule of upcoming classes is also made available online.

  • A small group facilitator for each class

    In each class, you will be part of a small group of approximately 15 other professionals from around the world with whom you will participate in discussions and group-learning activities. Your group is also the ideal place for valuable idea sharing and networking. This program boasts an extremely active online community, so you can expand your knowledge of health communication across many industries and geographical locations.

  • Practical knowledge for your future

    The program blends professional experience with scholarly achievement to give you the knowledge and skills to set you apart. If you are a working professional, you will find that what you learn in class from research, case studies, and policy analysis, can be integrated in practical ways on the job.

  • Everyone needs a little help sometimes, and we are here when you need it.

    Boston University technical support via email ithelp@bu.edu, the support form, and phone (888-243-4596) is available from 8 AM to Midnight Eastern Time. We also offer self-support options for after hour needs. For other times, you may still submit a support request via email, phone or the support form, but your question won’t be responded to until the following day.

Admissions

Admission Requirements Tuition & Financial Aid Academic Calendar Computer Requirements

We welcome applications throughout the year. Admission to the College’s degree programs is highly competitive, and each candidate is assessed by the admissions committee based on a range of criteria, including curriculum vitae, professional experience, academic transcripts, letters of recommendation and/or references, and a personal statement. Admission decisions are made after a full evaluation of each candidate’s application materials.

in this program, I have found the highest
standards of education that I’ve ever
been fortunate to experience
throughout my lifetime.

Leigh Curtin Wilding
2012 Grad
  • Admission Requirements
  • Transfer Credit
  • Standardized Tests
  • Application Instructions
    For International Applicants
  • Application Instuctions
    • Show completion of a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited college or university
    • Complete the Boston University Metropolitan College and College of Communication MSHC Graduate School Application
    • Submit official transcripts of all colleges or universities attended
    • Present a professional portfolio that includes:
      • Three professional letters of recommendation (from faculty and/or supervisors)
      • Resume/CV
      • Personal Statement  – Write a narrative about your life. Include information about your accomplishments, family, educational experience, and outside activities. Be creative rather than philosophic. Remember that you are writing for a reader who knows nothing about you or your background. (1,000 words maximum)
      • Professional Statement  – Using clear, declarative English, write an appraisal of your experience in any area of communication or health (if any). Include what you expect from a career in health communication and why you chose to enter it. If you feel you do not have sufficient experience in either communication or health, address what you expect from a career in  health communication and why you are choosing to enter it. (1,000 words maximum)
  • On a case-by-case basis, a student may petition to have graduate credit from a regionally accredited college or university count as the equivalent of another course in the curriculum and accepted as transfer credit.In such cases, a student will have to supply a course syllabus to ensure that the content in the course taken at another university is equivalent to the content of the course in the master’s curriculum.A course with a similar name or the same name as a course offered at Boston University does not necessarily mean that the content of the course is similar enough to accept it as transfer credit. Students must be fully admitted to the program before graduate credit from another university will be evaluated by the faculty.

    Please contact Anne Ellis, your Enrollment Advisor, for more information: 1-877-674-9682

  • While standardized test scores are not required for admission to programs at Metropolitan College, candidates can strengthen their applications by submitting results of the GRE.
    • GRE scores are accepted by all Metropolitan College graduate programs. Use institutional code 3108.
  • With the proper documentation, international students are welcome to join our diverse program. ALL international students (non-US citizens) must submit a three-minute video as described below. Students should state his/her name and intended major. They should then answer each of the following questions:
    • How do you plan to advance your community as a result of your study in the field of communications?
    • Discuss a significant person in your life and describe the ways in which you have been influenced (positively/negatively) and why.
    • If you were to describe where you grew up to someone who hadn’t visited there before, what would you highlight?

    The video should not exceed the three-minute limit. The video may be in VHS, DVD or PAL format, OR as a video on a CD (Windows Media Player). It must be unedited, unscripted, and labeled with the student’s name and intended major.

    Students who have studied at a non-English speaking school must take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).

    Minimum scores from TOEFL tests:

    • Paper TOEFL (PBT) – minimum score 600
    • Computer based TOEFL (CBT) – minimum score 250
    • Internet Based Test (iBT) TOEFL – minimum score 100

    Since all four components of the iBT TOEFL test are critical to students in the Master of Science in Health Communication, we require the following of our applicants:

    • Listening: 25 (max. of 30)
    • Reading: 25 (max. of 30)
    • Speaking: 25 (max. of 30)
    • Writing: 25 (max. of 30)

    If you are submitting a transcript from an international university that is not well known to our Admissions Committee, we may request that you obtain an evaluation of the transcript by a professional credential evaluation service that is a member of the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services. Please contact your Enrollment Advisor to determine if a transcript evaluation or translation is required.

  • The Application Checklist will help guide you through the application process and can answer many of your application questions. However, it is recommended that you contact an Enrollment Advisor at 1-877-674-9682, prior to completing your application.

    Step 1: Complete the Boston University Metropolitan College and College of Communication Online MSHC Graduate Application.

    The Boston University Metropolitan College and College of Communication online MSHC graduate application can be completed at: https://www.bu.edu/link/bin/uiscgi_graduate_application.pl?ThisCollege=metThe $80 application fee can be paid on-line by using a credit card (VISA or MasterCard).

    Step 2: Submit Official Undergraduate and Graduate Transcripts.

    You must send official transcripts from all colleges/universities that you have attended.
    Transcripts must bear the original signature of the authorized official with the seal of each institution.You may request the transcripts to be sent directly to the Off-Site Admissions Support Center, or you may have the transcripts sent to you, and you may include them sealed and unopened with your application package.

    International transcripts should be evaluated by World Education Services (WES). More information about WES can be found here.

    Step 3: Submit three Letters of Recommendation with your application package.

    References should come from individuals who can attest to your academic and professional skills.

    Be certain to inform references of the deadline for receipt of the recommendation form. You may request electronic copies of the recommendation form from your Enrollment Advisor. Make sure to sign your form.

    Letters of recommendation can be submitted online or e-mailed/faxed to your Enrollment Advisor.

    Step 4: Write a Personal Statement to submit with your application package.

    Write a narrative about your life. Include information about your accomplishments, family, educational experience, and outside activities. Be creative rather than philosophic. Remember that you are writing for a reader who knows nothing about you or your background. (1,000 words maximum.)

    Step 5: Write a Professional Statement to submit with your application package.
    Using clear, declarative English write an appraisal of your experience in any area of communication or health (if any). Include what you expect from a career in health communication and why you chose to enter it. If you feel you do not have sufficient experience in communication or health, address what you expect from a career in health communication and why you are choosing to enter it. 1,000 words maximum.

    Step 6: Submit your Professional Resume with your application package.
    Your resume should include relevant professional skills, education, and any additional relevant work experiences.

    Step 7: For International Applicants: Submit Official Scores for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).
    Students who have studied at a non-English speaking school must take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). TOEFL test breakdown (both are firm minimum scores):

    • Paper TOEFL (PBT): minimum score 600.
    • Computer based TOEFL (CBT): minimum score 250.
    • Internet Based Test (iBT) TOEFL: minimum score 100.

    Since all four components of the iBT TOEFL test are critical to students in the Masters of Science in Health Communication, we require the following of our applicants:

    • Listening: 25 (max. of 30)
    • Reading: 25 (max. of 30)
    • Speaking: 25 (max. of 30)
    • Writing: 25 (max. of 30)

    More information about these tests can be found at www.toefl.org.

    Step 8: International Applicants Must Submit a 3-Minute Video.
    ALL international students  (non-US citizens) must submit a three-minute video as described below. State your name and intended major. Then answer each of the following questions:

    • How do you plan to advance your community as a result of your study in the field of communications?
    • Discuss a significant person in your life and describe the ways in which you have been influenced (positively/negatively and why).
    • If you were to describe where you grew up to someone who hadn’t visited there before, what would you highlight?

    Video should not exceed the three-minute limit. The video may be in VHS, DVD, or PAL format OR as a video on a CD (Windows Media Player). It must be unedited and unscripted. Label should contain the student’s name and intended major.

    Students who have studied at a non-English speaking school must take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).

    Minimum scores from TOEFL tests:

    • Paper TOEFL (PBT) – minimum score 600
    • Computer based TOEFL (CBT) – minimum score 250
    • Internet Based Test (iBT) TOEFL – minimum score 100

    Since all four components of the iBT TOEFL test are critical to students in the Master of Science in Health Communication, we require the following of our applicants:

    • Listening: 25 (max. of 30)
    • Reading: 25 (max. of 30)
    • Speaking: 25 (max. of 30)
    • Writing: 25 (max. of 30)

    If you are submitting a transcript from an international university that is not well known to our Admissions Committee, we may request that you obtain an evaluation of the transcript by a professional credential evaluation service that is a member of the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services. Please contact your Enrollment Advisor to determine if a transcript evaluation or translation is required.

    Step 9: Students with a Lower GPA Must Call an Enrollment AdvisorA GPA of 3.0 (on a scale of 4.0) is preferred, but please contact an Enrollment Advisor at 1-877-674-9682 to further discuss your academic history.

    Please review all points listed above and ensure that you have checked off each of the steps for the complete application process. Our Enrollment Advisors are available to assist you, as needed. Please call 1-877-674-9682. While we will attempt to consider your application as quickly as possible, we cannot review your application until all required materials have been submitted.

Fall 2014 to Summer 2015 Tuition and Fees

Invest in your future. Boston University proudly offers an affordable, yet academically rigorous, education. We encourage you to apply for financial aid and to discuss any tuition reimbursement options with your current employer.

Fall 2014 – Summer 2015 Tuition Fees
Application Fee
Master of Health Communication
  $80
Tuition
Total tuition based on ten 4-credit courses
$800 per credit hour
10 x 4 x $800 = $32,200
 
Student Services Fee
Total student services fees based on taking 2 courses per semester or 5 semesters to complete 10 courses (summer counts as two semesters)
  $60 per semester
6 x $60 = $360
Technology Fee
Total technology fees based on ten 4-credit courses
  $60 per semester
10 x 4 x $60 = $2,400
Totals $32,000 $2,840

Total tuition & fees for 10-course degree based on 2014-2015 rates = $34,840

Financial Assistance

Boston University’s Metropolitan College offers comprehensive financial assistance services to help you meet your educational goals. We also provide information to help students make thoughtful decisions about options for financing a Boston University education.

For some additional guidance on personal money management and loan repayment, including workshops and online resources, we encourage you to visit Boston University’s Smart Money 101 website.

There is no cost to apply for financial assistance, and you may qualify for a student loan regardless of your income. To learn more about applying for financial assistance, please visit us online or contact:

Boston University Metropolitan College Graduate Financial Assistance
755 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA 02215
Phone: 617-358-4072
Fax: 617-353-4190
finanaid@bu.edu

ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA
Federal regulations require that students applying for federal loan assistance must meet certain eligibility criteria whether or not they previously received aid. In order for you to (continue to) receive loan money, you must meet all eligibility criteria as detailed on our graduate load information pages linked here

IMPORTANT LOAN INFORMATION
As with any loan, make sure you fully understand the interest rates, repayment terms, and tax implications. Find out if interest charges are variable or fixed, if the loan has forgiveness or deferment provisions, if you can consolidate the loan with other loans, and if the loan carries prepayment penalties.
Borrow only what you need. Remember that loans must be repaid even if you do not finish school. Your education is a substantial investment. It’s one of the most important decisions you can make for your future. Take time to learn all of your financial aid options before you make any decision.

The Master of Science in Health Communication is designed with working professionals in mind. With six convenient start dates and applications accepted throughout the year, you won’t have to wait long to begin. What’s even more exciting is once you get started, you can complete the program in as few as 18 months.

The variety of backgrounds
and experience make the
learning environment
very interesting and
informative.

Danielle Benjamin
  Fall I Fall II Spring I Spring II
Application Deadline 8/12/2014 10/7/2014 1/5/2015 2/24/2015
Registration Deadline 8/19/2014 10/14/2014 1/13/2015 3/3/2015
Classes Begin 9/2/2014 10/28/2014 1/20/2015 3/17/2015

All of Boston University’s online programs run on the Blackboard Learn platform. If your computer does not have the proper hardware or software, Blackboard Learn may run slowly or not at all.

We want to ensure you have the best possible online learning experience. Take a moment to check your current system configuration prior to using Blackboard Learn on your computer.

If you need assistance finding your system configuration, please check out the minimum hardware and software requirements.

Check Your Current System Configuration

Faculty & Alumni

Faculty Student Spotlights Uniquely BU

Scholars and Industry-Experienced Faculty

The MSHC faculty is comprised of both full-time university professors and leading professionals practicing in the field. Our faculty share their practical knowledge and experience across various disciplines that converge in the field of health communication. As a result, students gain a breadth and depth of knowledge that is unique to a BU education.

Enroll in BU and learn from practitioners and scholars coming together from different professional backgrounds and different schools within the University, including the Sargent College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, School of Public Health, and College of Communication.

Get to know the faculty of Boston University.

Gain a Breadth and Depth of Knowledge
  • Stephen Quigley
  • Domenic Screnci
  • Wayne W. LaMorte
  • Pauline C. Hamel
  • Kristen Pufahl-Schreck
  • Paul Buta
  • Cara M. Cheyette
  • Jean van Seventer
  • Timothy Sullivan
  • Nicole Ames
  • Dorothy Clark
  • Cassie Ryan
  • stephen-quigley

    Stephen Quigley

    Title:  Associate Professor of Public Relations
    Degrees:  BA, University of Massachusetts; MEd, Boston University
    Course: MET HC 756 Contemporary Public Relations

    For 14 years, Quigley has been a Boston University public relations faculty member, and has served as coordinator of the program for four years. Quigley’s work is concentrated in media relations, community relations, crisis communication and social media. He teaches a wide variety of undergraduate and graduate public relations courses including New Media and Public Relations, and is a featured speaker and panelist for various regional and national professional associations and organizations.

    Quigley is the co-director of Boston University’s Master of Science Health Communication program, director of Boston University’s Advanced Communication Summer Exchange Program with Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore in Milan, and a proud member of the faculty of Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore’s new International Postgraduate Master in Corporate Communication program. Prior to joining Boston University, he was a partner at the public relations firm Schneider & Associates. In addition, he has served as faculty advisor to Boston University’s Edward L. Bernays Chapter of PRSSA for 13 years.

    In 2009, the Boston University Chapter of PRSSA announced a scholarship in Quigley’s name to recognize his “Dedication to and excellence in public relations.” He is a former member of the National Commission on Public Relations Education, a former PRSA Assembly Delegate and Past-President of PRSA Boston. Recently, Quigley co-authored Managing Corporate Communication: A Cross-cultural Approach, which includes contributions from scholars and professionals from Europe and the United States.

    Awards

    • Outstanding Educator Award, Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), 2011
    • Diane Davis Beacon Award for lifetime achievement, PRSA Boston, 2010
    • Boston University Lyndon Baines Johnson Student Advisor of the Year Award
    • Boston University College of Communication Advisor of the Year Award
    • Boston University Student Activities Advisor of the Year Award
    • John J. Malloy Crystal Bell Award for lifetime achievement and contribution to the field of public relations, The Publicity Club of New England

    Publications
    Books
    Co-author, with Gabmbetti, R., Managing Corporate Communication: A Cross-cultural Approach, (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013).

  • domenic-screnci

    Domenic Screnci

    Title: Executive Director, Educational Technology, Training and Outreach, Boston University
    Degrees: EdD, Curriculum and Teaching, School of Education, Boston University; MEd., Educational Media and Technology, School of Education, Boston University

    Domenic Screnci, EdD, is the Executive Director for Educational Technology, Training and Outreach in Information Services and Technology at Boston University. Domenic serves the university as an educational technologist, instructional systems designer and integrator, instructional designer and a producer of curriculum materials for traditional and new media based educational projects. Dr. Screnci has a master degree in educational media and technology and a doctorate in Curriculum and teaching from Boston University. Domenic has 30+ years of experience in the field of biocommunications and is currently the co-director of Boston University’s online Master of Science Health Communications Program. He has taught an instructional design course at Boston University’s School of Public Health “Teaching Public Health” and is also on the faculty at the University of Massachusetts/Boston in their master’s level Instructional Design Program teaching a Visual Literacy and Information Design course.

    Dr. Screnci is a member of the American Society for Training and Development, Association for Educational Communication and Technology, International Society for Technology in Education, International Society for Performance Improvement and the International Visual Literacy Association as well as a number of other academic and professional organizations.

    Additional Resources:

    Articles

    2010 – Journal of Biocommunication
    Author, Darwin and the Survival of the BioCommunicator, JBC Vol. 36, No. 2 2010
    2000 – The International Information and Library Review
    Co-Author, “Information and Communication Technologies: Our Experience and Development Outlook”
    2000 – Journal of Prehospital and Disaster Medicine
    Co-Author, “An Internet-based Exercise as a Component of Overall Training Program Addressing Medical Aspects of Radiation Emergency Management”
    1996 – Journal of Medical Systems Author, “Medical Outreach to Armenia by Telemedicine”

    Presentations

    2014 – International Society for Performance Improvement, Massachusetts
    Chapter “Designing and Supporting eLearning Ecosystems”

    2013 – American Society for Training and Development, Boston
    Chapter “Visual Literacy for the Instructional Designer”
    NERCOMP Annual Conference
    “Preparing the Masses for Yet Another LMS Migration: How BU Used a Crowdsourcing Concept to Train 4,000
    Faculty and Thrived” Co Presenter

    2010 – Turning Technologies User Conference, Cambridge, MA
    Panel Discussion: “Pedagogy to Practice”

    InfoComm2010/IMCCA Collaborative Conferencing Forum, Las Vegas, NV
    Presentation: End User Case Studies Panel
    Presentation “Successful Collaborative Communications in the Workplace: A User’s Perspective”

    InfoComm09: IMCCA Collaborative Conferencing Forum, Orlando, FL
    End User Case Studies Panel Presentation
    Presentation: “Collaborative Communications at Boston University: An Update”
    Moderator: “HD, What happens after we’ve met the limits of our eyes and ears? Telepresence Day

    Online Learning at BU: Innovations, Outcomes and Insights
    Provost’s Faculty Advisory Board for Distance Education, Boston University
    Presentation: “Online Master of Science Health Communication at Boston University”

    Instructional Innovations Conference
    Center for Excellence in Teaching, Boston University
    Presentation: “Echo360 Classroom Technology Solution at Boston University’s School of Medicine”

    Health Literacy Out Loud, http://healthliteracyoutloud.com
    Podcast Interviews with Those “In-The-Know” about Health Literacy
    Topic: Visual Literacy

    Medical Education for the 21st Century: Teaching for Health Equity Conference
    International Association for Health Policy and the Latin American Association for
    Social Medicine, Havana, Cuba
    Presentation: “Using Communication To Improve Health: A Global Perspective”

    Blackboard User Conference Bb World 07, Boston, MA
    Presentation: “Anystream Lecture Capture – Content On Demand: A Boston University
    School of Medicine Case Study”

    American Physical Therapy Association Combined Section Meeting, Boston, MA
    Education Section
    Co-Presentation: “Health Literacy and You: A Call to Action”

    National TB Controllers Association, Atlanta, GA
    Promoting Education and Training/Ensuring a Competent TB Workforce
    Presentation: “Health Literacy: What do we need to know?”

    Advice for New Students: “Understand that health communication is a dynamic and evolving discipline. As health care systems change, health information increases and the public’s health needs evolve. An education at BU in health communication will give you the content and develop the skills required to enter, navigate and thrive in the industry. BU offers an academic environment that will cultivate your commitment to the profession and foster the spirit of lifelong learning important to succeeding as a health communicator. Ultimately necessary to excel as a health communicator, is the interest, enthusiasm, and commitment to grow and adapt as the field advances.”

  • wayne-lamorte

    Wayne W. LaMorte

    Title: Professor of Epidemiology; Assistant Dean for Education
    Degrees: BA, Biological Sciences, Rutgers University; MD, Medicine, College of Medicine and Dentistry of NJ; PhD, Biochemistry, Boston University Graduate School; MPH, Epidemiology/Biostatistics, Boston University School of Public Health
    Course: MET HC 751 Introduction to Epidemiology for the Health Communicator

    Dr. LaMorte has been a faculty member at Boston University for more than 20 years and teaches in the School of Public Health as well as Metropolitan College. He is also the assistant dean for education at Boston University School of Public Health, and the director of the MD-MPH dual degree program.
    Always actively involved in public health practice, Dr. LaMorte has worked closely with the Local Public Health Institute of Massachusetts to create and provide both online and face-to-face training to public health practitioners in Massachusetts. Dr. LaMorte has also worked with high school students to develop videos promoting healthy choices for teens. These videos include topics such as personal decisions in smoking, physical activity and healthy eating, and alcohol use.

    Courses:
    EP713 Introduction to Epidemiology
    PH709 The Biology of Public Health
    HC751 Introduction to Epidemiology for the Health Communicator

    Advice for New Students: “By the end of the course, students find that HC 751 gives them important insights and new skills that make them much more adept at formulating accurate health communications and evaluating the validity of sources. Nevertheless, the compressed seven-week format for this online course makes it challenging, and it is imperative that you keep up with the course work. Each section builds on the concepts in the earlier sessions, so it is important to not fall behind.”

  • pauline-hamel

    Pauline C. Hamel

    Title: Lecturer
    Degrees: BS, Physical Therapy, Northeastern University, Boston Bouve College
    MEd, Education/Rehabilitation Administration, Northeastern University Graduate School of Education; EdD, Administration, Training, and Policy, Boston University School of Education
    Courses: MET HC 759 Health Communication, MET HC 750 The American Health Care System for Health Communicators

    Pauline C. Hamel, EdD, PT, has been teaching in the Master of Science in Health Communication program at Boston University since its inaugural semester in the Fall of 2008. In addition to the American Health Care System for Health Communicators, she also teaches the Introduction to Health Communication course and health care ethics. Prior to online teaching at BU, she was a Clinical Professor and Director of Clinical Education in the Physical Therapy Department at Northeastern University’s Bouve´ College of Health Sciences, in Boston, MA., where she was responsible for doctoral level clinical education internship placements, student mentoring, advisement, contract negotiations, and recruitment/development of physical therapy clinical sites across the country. For over 25 years, Dr. Hamel’s professional career has included numerous roles as professor, clinician (physical therapist and rehabilitation/geriatric specialist), administrator, public speaker and consultant in both academia and the health care industry. She has taught graduate courses that include health communication, American health care system, communication skills for health professionals, clinical education, health care ethics, health promotion, geriatrics, psychosocial aspects of health/illness, professional development and service learning.

    In partnership with the Department of Public Health, the New Bedford Health Department and leading health-funding foundations, Dr. Hamel is the Project Coordinator for the New Bedford Mass in Motion Municipal Wellness and Leadership grant, which focuses on community assessment of schools, healthcare organizations, worksites, community institutions, and the community-at-large to address childhood obesity and related chronic diseases through policy, systems, and environmental change strategies.

    Dr. Hamel is also a Special Project Consultant to the Greater New Bedford Health Equity Initiative, serving as Liaison between the Greater New Bedford Allies for Health and Wellness, Mass in Motion, and Healthy People 2020. Her work includes community health assessment, coalition building, training of community health workers, and raising awareness of the social determinants of health and their effects on health outcomes. Additionally, she is on the Board of Directors of Easter Seals Massachusetts which provides disability services, advocacy, youth empowerment, employment, and assistive technologies across the lifespan to ensure that children and adults with disabilities have equal opportunities to “live, learn, work, and play.”

    Dr. Hamel has worked and consulted with patients/clients of all ages (with a specialization in older adults) in acute and subacute rehabilitation, community health, and home care settings in Boston and the New England area. She is currently a member of the American Public Health Association and the MA Public Health Association. While a member of the Education, Geriatric, and Health Policy/Administration Sections of the American Physical Therapy Association, she presented her work on health communication, health literacy, and geriatric rehabilitation at national and regional conferences, including the APTA’s national conferences, expositions, and combined sections meetings in San Francisco, Denver, San Antonio, and Boston as well as at the Public Relations Society of America, the Biocommunications/Health and Science Communications Association, the American Geriatrics Society, and the Institute of Healthcare Advancement (IHA). Additionally, she has provided presentations and interviews on various areas of expertise, including public health, health literacy, contemporary health care trends, and intergenerational health communication.

    Ongoing Research:

    Dr. Hamel’s research and consulting interests include interdisciplinary and intergenerational health communications, health literacy, the American health care system, patient safety and the prevention of medical errors, public health, clinical education, health promotion, older adult and women’s health, and professional development and training.

    Her recent national and regional communication and health literacy presentations include:

    Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) Health Academy Conference, Chicago, IL: Communicating Complexity, Simply: The U.S. Health Care System for Health Communicators, April 2010

    The Institute for Healthcare Advancement (IHA) National Health Literacy Conference,
    Irvine, CA: Health Literacy and Physical Therapists: Feedback from the Field, May 2009

    Health Literacy Out Loud (HLOL) Podcast Presentation
    Intergenerational Health Communication, February 2009
    Available at http://healthliteracy.com/podcast.asp

    Co-Presenter, Medical Education for the 21st Century – Teaching for Health Equity conference, Havana, Cuba: Using Communications To Improve Health: A Global Perspective, Dec. 2008
    American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) Annual Conference & Exposition,
    San Antonio, TX: Health Literacy in Physical Therapy, June, 2008

    Additional Resources:
    Hamel, P.C., Filling the Void: Health Communication, Public Relations, and the Marketplace. Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), Public Relations TACTICS, 15 (6), June, 2008.
    Available at http://www.prsa.org/publications/tactics/index.html

    Health Literacy Out Loud (HLOL) Podcast Presentation:
    Hamel, P.C. with Helen Osborne., Intergenerational Health Communication, February 2009
    Available at http://healthliteracy.com/podcast.asp

    Advice for New Students: “Just as students learn from their professors (hopefully!), teachers also learn from their students. I heartily encourage you to bring a spirit of collegiality, creativity, and adventure to our program, and share not only your personal and professional goals and aspirations with faculty and classmates, but also what you know from your own life experiences. Today’s health communications students bring an incredible vibrancy, wealth of knowledge and technology, and professional experience from both the communications and healthcare environments to our virtual, but highly interactive classrooms. We are coming together in this dynamic and emerging field at one of the most exciting and exhilarating times in our nation’s history. By integrating your own commitment and hard work with our faculty’s quality instruction, new media, ongoing discussion and networking, and the tremendous tools, resources, and support offered by the program, Boston University’s MSHC graduates will be the leaders in the field who will surely define and shape the future of Health Communication. Welcome aboard!”

  • kristen-pufahl

    Kristen Pufahl-Schreck

    Title: Registered Dietitian
    Degrees: BS, Business Administration, Georgetown University; MS, Nutrition, Boston University
    Courses: MET HC 753 Nutrition and Health for Communicators

    Kristen Pufahl-Schreck, MS, RDN, LDN has enjoyed teaching in the Health Communication program since its inception. In addition to teaching Nutrition and Health for Communicators, she teaches introductory nutrition courses in the MET Gastronomy program and the Health Sciences program in Sargent College.

    Professor Schreck works as a licensed registered dietitian nutritionist in the Greater Boston area, specializing in weight management and disordered eating. She is passionate about combining her love for teaching with her interest in nutrition and food. In addition to teaching at BU, she has taught teens and adults that healthy eating does not have to be hard as a high school nutrition teacher, a clinical dietitian, and a nutrition consultant. She is currently the Nutrition Services Program Manager at Jewish Family & Children’s Service in Waltham, Massachusetts.

    Professor Schreck was awarded the Recognized Young Dietitian of the Year by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics in 2012. She also serves on the board of the Massachusetts Dietetic Association.

    In her free time, Professor Schreck enjoys reading, cooking, practising yoga, and exploring great restaurants in the Boston area.

    Additional Resources:

    Interview with BU Today: http://www.bu.edu/today/unknown-section/2007/09/16/sar-grad-student-honored

    Blog Posts:

    http://www.jfcsboston.org/DefaultPermissions/Blog/tabid/324/EntryId/391/The-Childhood-Obesity-Food-Insecurity-Paradox.aspx
    http://www.jfcsboston.org/DefaultPermissions/Blog/tabid/324/EntryId/267/Kristens-Kitchen.aspx
    http://www.jfcsboston.org/DefaultPermissions/Blog/tabid/324/EntryId/211/Healthy-JF-CS-Celebrates-National-Nutrition-Month.aspx
    http://www.jfcsboston.org/DefaultPermissions/Blog/tabid/324/EntryId/150/Healthy-Eating-in-a-Homeless-Motel.aspx
    http://www.jfcsboston.org/DefaultPermissions/Blog/tabid/324/EntryId/114/Why-I-Became-a-Dietitian.aspx
    http://www.jfcsboston.org/DefaultPermissions/Blog/tabid/324/EntryId/108/Healthy-Waltham-Eat-Healthy-on-a-Budget.aspx

    Advice for New Students: “This course will teach students how choosing nourishing foods and living an active lifestyle can improve health. I hope that students find the course applicable not only to their future careers as health professionals, but also in their own lives.”

  • paul-buta

    Paul Buta

    Title: Lecturer
    Degrees: MBA, University of Chicago Booth School of Business; MS & BS, Electrical Engineering, University of Illinois, Urbana
    Courses: MET HC 755 Contemporary Health Care Marketing

    Paul Buta is president of Choiceplex, which uses big data to solve marketing challenges for financial services, health care and retail companies. Previously, Buta acted as vice president of business development at Dendrite International, a provider of sales and marketing solutions to the pharmaceutical industry. He was also chief operating officer and co-founder of Optas, a marketing services company, and has held management positions at IMS Health, AC Nielsen, Cognitive Systems, and Dun & Bradstreet. Buta recently authored the book Privacy Panic, written to help consumers take charge of their personal privacy, an issue on which he is currently focused.

    Additional Resources:

    Books
    Privacy Panic: How to Avoid Identity Theft, Stop Spam and Take Control of your Personal Privacy, Mill City Press Author.

    Presentations
    “Social Marketing, Meet Database Marketing.” Direct Marketing Association; Live Learning Center.
    “Privacy-Safe Techniques for Using Prescription Data to Improve DTC ROI.” Pharmaceutical Marketing Conference, Philadelphia, Pa., 2003.

    Online Articles
    “Direct to Consumer: When Television Isn’t Good Enough.” Pharmaceutical Executive (January 2007).
    Buta, P, and Smith, S.J. “Clipping Coupons.” Pharmaceutical Executive (April 2004).
    Buta, P. “Out of the Spam Can.” Pharmaceutical Executive (November 2002).

    Advice for New Students: “Health care marketing exists in a confusing environment where the consumer is not the primary decision maker. The physician responsible for most decisions is restricted by the payer—whether government or private—which plays by a different set of rules. Wherever you are in the mix, you need to know and influence all the players in the system.”

  • cara-cheyette

    Cara M. Cheyette

    Title: Lecturer
    Degrees: BA, University of Massachusetts, Boston; JD, Boston College Law School; MPH, Boston University School of Public Health
    Courses: MET HC 754 Ethical Issues in Medicine and Public Health Communication

    Cara M. Cheyette’s interest in the areas of health law, bioethics and human rights began almost 30 years ago when she found herself questioning medical orthodoxy for her clients and her own family. As a law student, she delved into topics at the intersection of law, ethics and medicine─from the very public question of the use of epidemiological evidence as a litigation tool, to the very private issue of harvesting organs from legally incompetent individuals. As an attorney in private practice in Boston, Cara worked with minors in proceedings that determined whether they were sufficiently mature to give their informed consent to medical procedures. Later, as the Health Law, Bioethics and Human Rights Fellow at Boston University’s School of Public Health, Cara continued to focus her research in the areas of medical ethics, governmental intrusion into health care decision-making, and the proper balance of public and private rights in the health arena. Cara draws on all of her experience as a student, teacher, parent, lawyer, advocate, mediator, researcher, avid reader, and writer to make HC754 a lively and challenging course for MET’s Health Communication students.

    Publications:
    “Communitarianism and the Ethics of Communicable Disease: Some Preliminary Thoughts,” JOURNAL OF LAW, MEDICINE AND ETHICS, Vol. 39(4), Winter 2011: 678-689.

    “Punishment Before Justice: Indefinite Detention in the U.S.”, PHYSICIANS FOR HUMAN RIGHTS, June 2011 (lead author).

    “The Public Trust Doctrine in New England: An Underused Judicial Tool,” NATURAL RESOURCES & ENVIRONMENT, Vol. 17, No. 2, Fall 2002 (with W. Lahey).

    “Organ Harvests from the Legally Incompetent: An Argument Against Compelled Altruism,” BOSTON COLL. L. REV. 2000; 41: 465-515.

  • jean-van-seventer

    Jean van Seventer

    Title: Associate Professor of Environmental Health, Boston University School of Public Health
    Degrees: VMD, University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine; BS in Biological Sciences, Stanford University
    Courses: MET HC 752 The Biology of Disease

    After finishing veterinary school, Dr. Jean van Seventer worked as a small animal practitioner on Cape Cod while assisting in research studies at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute and the Marine Biological Laboratories in Woods Hole. Subsequently, she received research training as a Research Fellow in Comparative and Veterinary Pathology at Harvard Medical School, during which time she served as an Intern in Pathology at Angell Memorial Animal Hospital, and then as a Research Fellow in Pathology in the Immunopathology Laboratory at Massachusetts General Hospital.

    Dr. van Seventer received further research training focused on immunology as a Fellow at the National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute, in the Experimental Immunology Branch and the Laboratory of Pathology. After completing her training, she spent six years as an independent researcher at the University of Chicago, studying human T cell and dendritic cell biology. In 2000, Dr. van Seventer moved to the Boston University School of Public Health, where she now teaches and does immunology research.

    Her ongoing research focuses on the role of type I interferons in regulating T cell and dendritic cell responses in human autoimmune diseases, such as multiple sclerosis (MS) and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).

    Additional Resources:
    Peer Reviewed Papers
    Nagai, T., O. Devergne, T.F. Mueller, D.L. Perkins, J.M. van Seventer, and G.A. van Seventer. 2003. Timing of IFN- exposure during human dendritic cell maturation and naive Th cell stimulation has contrasting effects on Th1 subset generation: A role for IFN-mediated regulation of IL-12 family cytokines and IL-18 in naive Th cell differentiation. J.Immunol. 171:5233-5243.

    Nagai, T., O. Devergne, G.A. van Seventer, and J.M. van Seventer. 2007. Interferon-beta mediates opposing effects on interferon-beta-dependent interleukin-12 p70 secretion by human monocyte-derived dendritic cells. Scand J Immunol. 65(2):107-17.

    Meyers, J.A., A.J. Mangini, T. Nagai, C. F. Roff, D. Sehy, G.A. van Seventer, and J.M. van Seventer. 2006. Blockade of TLR9 agonist-induced type I interferons promotes inflammatory cytokine IFN and IL-17Secretion by activated human PBMC. Cytokine. 35:235-246.

    York, M.R., T. Nagai, A.J. Mangini, R. Lemaire, J.M. van Seventer, and R. Lafyatis. 2006. Siglec-1, a type I interferon inducible macrophage marker, is increased on circulating monocytes in a subset of patients with Systemic Sclerosis. Arthritis and Rheumatism. 56(3):1010-20.

    Richez C., Yasuda K., Watkins A.A., Akira S., Lafyatis R., van Seventer J.M., and Rifkin I.R. 2009. TLR4 ligands induce IFN-alpha production by mouse conventional dendritic cells and human monocytes after IFN-beta priming. J Immunol. 182(2):820-8.

    Green N.M., Laws A., Kiefer K., Busconi L., Kim Y.M., Brinkmann M.M., Trail E.H., Yasuda K., Christensen S.R., Shlomchik M.J., Vogel S., Connor J.H., Ploegh H., Eilat D., Rifkin I.R., van Seventer J.M., and Marshak-Rothstein A. 2009. Murine B cell response to TLR7 ligands depends on an IFN-beta feedback loop. J Immunol. 183(3):1569-76.

    Book Chapters and Reviews

    Maguire, J.E. and G.A. van Seventer. 1993. Adhesion molecules as signal transducers in T cell activation. Chapter 13, pages 313-331. In Lymphocyte Adhesion Molecules. Editor Y. Shimizu. R.G. Landes Company, Austin, TX.

    vanSeventer, G.A., R.ToloueiSemnani, E.M. Palmer, B.L. McRae, and J.M. van Seventer. 1998. Integrins and T helper cell activation. Transplant Proc. 30(8):4270-4274.

    vanSeventer, G.A., and J. M. van Seventer. 2000. Induction of T-cell signaling by immobilized integrin ligands. Methods Mol Biol. T Cell Protocols. 134:265-75. Editor K.P. Kearse. Humana Press. Totowa, NJ.

    Alyson J. Mangini, R. Lafyatis, and J.M. van Seventer. 2007. Type I IFN inhibition of inflammatory Th cell responses in SLE. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 1108:11-23.

    vanSeventer J.M., DeLouiereo A., and Hamer D.H. Emerging new infections: importance in child health. Annales Nestle, in press.

    vanSeventer J.M., and Hamer D.H. From seasonal to pandemic influenza. In Griffiths J.K., Hamer D.H., Heggenhougen H.K., Maguire J.H., Quah S., eds. Infectious Disease and Public Health. Academic Press, San Diego, CA. in press.

  • timothy-sullivan

    Timothy Sullivan

    Title: Lecturer
    Degrees: BA in Communications and Minor Political Science, Northeastern University; MS in Advertising, Boston University
    Courses: MET HC 758 Media Relations

    Professor Sullivan has served as a lead facilitator and facilitator since the program was launched, working on over two dozen courses. He brings more than15 years of experience in Distance Education, working on multi-media content design and development for both online and satellite broadcast courses.

    He has worked in television production on children’s programming, news, and freelance production in a variety of roles from director to stage manager to crew member. He combined his television production background with a Master of Science in Advertising from Boston University, which led to his current career as Director of Communications for the Spaulding Rehabilitation Network and Partners Continuing Care based in Boston. Tim oversees external and internal communications and public relations for 6 inpatient facilities, 23 outpatient centers, and a Harvard Medical teaching affiliate.

    During his eight years in healthcare, he has led major marketing and public relation campaigns in a variety of disease areas such as stroke, traumatic brain injury, and spinal cord injury. Professor Sullivan has worked with regional, national, and international media outlets of all media channel types, from the Boston Globe to CNN to Al Jazeera, on a wide variety of stories, such as launching treatment programs for returning soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan to the humanitarian efforts to treat Libyan war wounded to his recent work serving as a the media point person for the Boston Marathon Bombing efforts of Spaulding treating 32 survivors handling hundreds of media requests over many months. Tim has also spearheaded media efforts for major multi-site research publications and the opening of the first new hospital in Boston in over 40 years.

    Professor Sullivan has also led major community public health events, from a lead role for 6 years for the Partners HealthCare/7News Free Health and Fitness Expo, which averaged 70,000 attendees, to smaller community events with a variety of partners, such as the Boston Pops, American Heart Association, Partners with Youth for Disabilities, Massachusetts Health and Human Services, U.S. State Department, New England Patriots and Revolution, Boston Bruins and Boston Red Sox. Professor Sullivan has a passion for advocacy for the community with disabilities and works on several events and publications per year to promote awareness, especially for youth with disabilities.

    Areas of Interest:
    Advocacy and Awareness for the Community with Disabilities
    Social Media Impact on Public Relations

    Recent Presentations:
    Code Red: Crisis Communications and the Boston Marathon
    Publicity Club of New England Event Panelist
    February 28, 2014
    “http://www.marchpr.com/multimedia/2014/02/crisis-communications-boston-marathon/”

    Game Changer: How Mass Casualty Events are Re-Writing the Hospital Crisis Communication Playbook Conference
    Mass. Hospital Association
    Friday, October 11, 2013
    Speaker- The Boston Marathon Bombing: Case Studies from 2 Hospitals
    Spaulding and Mount Auburn Hospitals were uniquely involved with treating patients in the aftermath of the bombings. Spaulding worked with dozens of the most critically injured and high profile patients to provide post-acute care to prepare them for a very changed life ahead. Mount Auburn in Watertown was at the epicenter of a frightening police shoot-out with the suspects and saved the life of a critically injured MBTA police officer in the midst of a region-wide lockdown. Learn how these unique hospitals were able to treat patients and manage the crisis under rare extenuating circumstances.

    New England Society of Healthcare Communicators Webinar Series
    Snap Shot of an International Media Event: Libyan War Wounded
    Thursday, July 26, 2012
    Presented by Tim Sullivan, Director of Communications for Partners Continuing Care
    This presentation reviewed the planning and media execution for a major international media event at a small community-based rehabilitation hospital. Spaulding Hospital North Shore in Salem, Massachusetts, was selected by the U.S. State Department as the first facility in the U.S. to treat Libyan War wounded, delivering on a promise by Secretary of State Hilary Clinton. The first group arrived in October 2011 for approximately 3-6 month stays. More than 500 media hits were generated over that time.

    Massachusetts Hospital Association
    Symposium for Human Resource Professionals
    May 2011
    “Being More Social” – Engaging Your Staff Through Social Media

    Advice for New Students: “Be bold and believe in yourself. If you have a goal in mind, just go for it. Also, cherish the relationships you make with your classmates; many times they’ll be your connection to new careers and adventures.”

  • nicole-ames

    Nicole Ames

    Title: Lecturer
    Degrees: MS, Miami University
    Course: MET HC 757 Interactive Marketing Communications

    Nicole Ames is the Founder and Principal at Twist IMC a consultancy she created to help corporations better understand and implement best-practice principles of integrated marketing and social media. Nicole gained deep client side experience from her work in corporate marketing at Fortune 500 companies such as Liberty Mutual and Western Union. At Liberty Mutual, Ames contributed to the award-winning “Responsibility Project” managing print and online advertising, mobile and social media.

    Having spent more than 15 years in corporate marketing, Nicole understands the challenges facing marketers and uses her experience to approach social media best practices from a business perspective. She leverages this experience to teach Integrated Marketing and Social Media as an adjunct professor at both Boston University and Emerson College. She earned her master’s degree from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio where she began teaching as a research fellow.

    Today, Ames is based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and is an active member of the ANA, and the Ad Club of Boston.

  • dorothy-clark

    Dorothy Clark

    Title: Master Lecturer
    Degrees: BA, Boston University; MS, Boston University
    Course: MET HC 761 Advanced Writing for Health Communicators

    Clark’s background is in communication writing. For more than a decade, she owned Media Wise, a promotional writing service, where she wrote video treatments and scripts, multi-image shows, features, press kits, brochures and newsletters, as well as print and broadcast ads. Her courses now also include a variety of multimedia, social media, and web content writing. Additionally, Clark serves as the director/coordinator of the department’s adjunct writing faculty, and is the founder and faculty advisor for the department website, The COMmunicator. She writes and publishes short stories as well.

  • cassie-ryan

    Cassie Ryan

    Title: Lecturer
    Degrees: Doctoral Candidate, Boston University School of Public Health, Health Services Research Program, Department of Health Policy and Management BS, RN, MPH
    Course: MET HC 750 American Health Care System for Health Communicators

Why do our students choose BU? Find out.

Our students are highly ambitious, personally invested, and passionate professionals. Learn why they chose to pursue their master’s in health communication and see how this degree has benefited their careers. Then let’s chat about how it can work for you.

BU is certainly meeting my expectations and I’m proud to say I’m earning a Master’s degree from the school.
Lauren Ruwe
2012 Grad
  • Michael Durand
  • Carolann Martines
  • Jamie Rauscher
  • Meeghan De Cagna
  • michael-durandA specialist in biopharmaceutical marketing and corporate communications, Michael Durand has been responsible for market preparation, launch and ongoing public relations for many landmark medicines including Aranesp and Vectibix for Amgen, Taxol and Glucophage for Bristol-Myers Squibb and Vytorin for Merck/Schering-Plough.

    In addition to product marketing assignments, Michael has counseled clients in regulatory affairs and in public affairs issues affecting the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. He has also conducted corporate branding and issues management programs for Amgen, Sanofi-Aventis, the American Heart Association, the American Medical Association and other health care enterprises.

    Currently Michael is an independent public relations and marketing communications consultant working on payer evidence and corporate communications programs for health care clients. Previously he was managing director of health care strategy and planning at Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide. Prior to joining Ogilvy, he was the founding director of Porter Novelli’s Global Health Care Practice.

    He is the 2008 recipient of the Frank J. Weaver Lifetime Achievement Award of the Health Academy of the Public Relations Society of America.

    1. Why did you choose to pursue a graduate degree in Health Communication?
    Though I have more than 25 years of health care communications experience under my belt, over the past several years I’ve realized that there is much more to learn than I could ever tackle simply via on-the-job education. The Health Communications program at Boston University has given me the opportunity to explore very complex problems in public communications in an organized and thorough fashion. Furthermore, the exchange between myself and professors and fellow students has helped challenge my assumptions and beliefs in a very positive and thoughtful manner.
    2. Who is your current employer and what is your job title?
    After decades working for health care public relations agencies, I flew the safe coop and established my own practice, working as an independent consultant for pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. Now my time is my own, but I have to be far more accountable for how I spend that time.
    3. In which industry is your organization and what products or services do you offer?
    Primarily I am advising companies on messaging—how to most effectively communicate with the publics that they serve. I am also helping advertising and public relations agencies on business development and helping them win new clients.
    4. What are some of your responsibilities?
    My responsibilities include a whole lot of writing, researching and meeting with clients, to help advance their corporate objectives.
    5. What is most rewarding, personally and professionally, about being a health communication professional and why did you find these experiences so rewarding?
    Learning has always been important to me and I have found that a career in health care public relations and marketing communications is a constant learning experience—with each new client or engagement I am expected to fairly quickly learn about medical conditions, stakeholder attitudes and beliefs and the client’s competition. There’s not a day that goes by without learning some new and fascinating aspect of medicine or marketing. To me, this is extraordinarily rewarding.
    6. What have you gained from the MSHC program that will prepare you for a career in health communication?
    The MSHC program amplifies what I’ve been doing in the commercial sector and has added valuable new aspects to my job. For instance, the theories of health behavior that I learned in the Health Communications class have helped me better understand the consumer audiences that I am working with in my practice. Similarly, the “new rules of marketing and PR” coming from Professor Quigley’s class have been extraordinarily useful in developing public relations plans for my agency clients.
    7. What are some of the benefits and challenges of the online learning experience?
    Undoubtedly one of the benefits of online learning is the interaction with other students. The great thing about this program is that my fellow students aren’t simply cut from the same cloth. They come from literally every corner of the world and their interests and expertise is in every aspect of health communications, from nutrition education to product marketing to public health education. This potpourri of expertise truly enriches the program.
    8. Which of the MSHC course have you enjoyed the most to date and why?
    This isn’t a fair question, because each class has offered new learnings and challenges. If pressed however, I’d have to say I thoroughly enjoyed the science-oriented classes such as Biology of Disease and Introduction of Epidemiology since these were so different from what I typically am exposed to and offered true challenges.
    9. How has the relationships with your fellow classmates from the MSHC program benefitted you?
    My fellow students are the glue that has kept the program together. They have been terrific since they come from such varied backgrounds and have such a wide range of believes.
  • carolann-martinesCarolann Martines is a writer at Winthrop-University Hospital, who majored in English from Adelphi University on Long Island and had been working full time for two years when she decided to further her education with a master’s degree.

    Her reasons for choosing to pursue a master’s degree in Health Communication were as much personal as they were professional. Aside from a desire to deepen her knowledge of healthcare, marketing and public relations and to develop writing and communication skills, there was an incident involving her mother that further motivated Carolann to advance her career as a health communicator.

    When Carolann’s mother’s mammogram indicated dense tissue she was advised by the physician not to be concerned. She was concerned and insisted on an MRI, which showed she had breast cancer that required surgery. If her mother had not advocated for herself, the cancer would have spread, and she may not be here today. Carolann’s mother is a nurse and had the advantage of knowing how to navigate the healthcare system to demand the MRI, but for many other patients not familiar with the system, this may not be the case. After this incident, Carolann decided to develop her skills and her knowledge to help people make more informed decisions about their health and to give them the tools they need to advocate for themselves.

    1. Current employer:
    I am a Writer in the Department of Marketing, Advertising, and Public Relations at Winthrop-University Hospital on Long Island. I am responsible for developing various communications that help to promote hospital programs and services. Through press releases, brochures, website content, and other communications materials, I inform the public about the hospital’s latest medical technologies, innovative treatments, and the results of Winthrop’s cutting-edge research. My main responsibilities include conducting extensive research, interviews, writing and editing for press releases as well as our community magazine medical staff newsletter, and employee newsletter. I solicit news from hospital administrators, physicians and other clinical staff and work with them to develop compelling stories for the public and the media.

    For me, the most rewarding aspect of being a health communicator is knowing that what I write can help others take charge of their health. By taking complex medical information and developing it in a way that the community can understand, my goal is to help people become more informed about their options and make better decisions about their health.

    My favorite part of my job is working with patients to help them tell their stories. When patients have life-saving and life-changing experiences with the hospital, I interview them and their physician and write an article for our community publication or a press release. It’s often a cathartic experience for the patient as they tell their story from start to finish, and these patients find comfort in knowing that they can help other people who are going through similar experiences. I enjoy working with patients, helping them tell their stories, and knowing that these stories might prompt someone else to get the help they need at our hospital.

    2. Career impact of health communication program:
    Since the Master of Science in Health Communication is a specialized program for health communicators, everything I have learned from my very first day of class has directly applied to my job and has helped me grow in my position. In particular, the amount of science that we learn has really improved my ability to communicate. One of the most interesting parts of this program is that while we are learning and being tested on scientific information, our assignments and discussions are directly applicable to our careers. In Epidemiology, we learned not only how to define and calculate scientific data, but also how to critically evaluate that data and how to communicate the results of scientific research to our audiences in a meaningful, straightforward way. This has enabled me to become a more well-rounded health communicator and to help the public better understand important healthcare issues.
    3. Benefits and challenges of online learning experience:
    I have found the benefits of online learning to far outweigh the challenges. Online learning is not for everyone – you need to be organized, dedicated, and in charge of your own experience when you study in an online environment. It truly is what you make it. For me, online learning gives me the freedom to study wherever and whenever it was convenient for me. One of the best parts of online learning is that all of the Professor’s live lectures are recorded. This has helped me tremendously for my science classes, because I can replay the lectures as many times as I need before taking an exam. BU’s professors are completely dedicated to their online students. They do everything they can to make our learning experience positive, interactive, and challenging.
    4. Favorite course:
    Two classes stick out in my mind. The first is Contemporary Public Relations with Professor Steve Quigley. Professor Quigley is a wonderful professor who is passionate about his subject and truly cares about each of his students. His assignments, readings, and exams all provided me with knowledge and skills that I could use immediately – I was able to apply everything I learned in his class from the very first day to my current job. Professor Quigley’s ideas about communication and public relations changed the way I write and think about my work.

    The second is Epidemiology with Professor Wayne Lamorte, a remarkable professor who made this complex subject accessible and engaging. Professor Lamorte taught me how to read public health studies with a critical eye, and helped me develop the skills to communicate the results of these studies to the public. Although it was the most difficult class I’ve taken in the program, it was also the most rewarding.

    5. Value of relationships formed during program:
    I was not expecting to make such strong connections with my classmates in an online program. But I have found that BU’s Health Communication community is a very close online community – we all enjoy communicating with each other!

    Although the program is very focused, we had a diverse group of students – nutritionists, nurses, dental hygienists, writers, journalists, public relations professionals, and more. We learn so much from each other because each member of the program brings a unique perspective. It has been so important for me, as a public relations professional, to engage in meaningful conversations with journalists, bloggers, and clinical healthcare professionals.

    My classmates are an invaluable source of support and encouragement. Their passion and dedication to health communication is inspiring.

  • jamie-rauscherJamie is a May 2011 graduate of the Boston University Health Communication program. Originally from the metropolitan Chicago area, Jamie lives in Lexington, Massachusetts. Her professional experience is based entirely in health care and includes management consulting, pharmaceutical sales, and marketing communications. She currently works at Brigham and Women’s Hospital as a Project Manager in the marketing department and at the Foundation of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, a nonprofit health insurer, as a Communications Specialist. She is also a course facilitator for the Health Communication program. In addition to her interest in health care, Jamie is fascinated by how technology is changing our lives particularly in the field of communication. She is active on numerous social networks including Linkedin, Twitter and Google+. She is also a featured blogger on HealthWorks Collective (http://www.healthworkscollective.com) an editorially independent, moderated community for thought leaders in international healthcare.

    1. Current employer:
    I currently work at Brigham and Women’s Hospital as a Project Manager in the Marketing Department. I provide marketing support for the Neurosciences and Women’s Health Centers for Clinical Excellence. In this role I work with members of the clinical departments to develop marketing programs designed to generate patient referrals from community physicians throughout the greater New England area. I also work one day a week at the Foundation of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, a regional health insurer. As communications consultant, I have helped the Foundation formulate their online communications strategy and redesigned their website.

    Being a health communications professional allows me to combine my interests in health care, marketing communications and technology to make a positive impact on community and individual health.

    2. Career impact of health communication program:
    The Master of Science in Health Communication enhanced my career in health care by both broadening and deepening my knowledge base. Health Communication courses like Biology, Epidemiology and Nutrition deepened my existing knowledge of health care while classes like Biomedical Ethics, Introduction to Health Communication, Interactive Marketing and Introduction to Media Relations introduced me to new concepts. This wider and deeper skill set has helped me in both of my current positions. For example, at Harvard Pilgrim I have used concepts from Interactive Marketing in the redesign of the Foundation website. Introduction to Health Communication has also been invaluable in understanding how to communicate effectively about Foundation initiatives such as their childhood obesity program or their expertise in training health care professionals to become culturally competent. At Brigham and Women’s Hospital I apply concepts from Marketing and Interactive Marketing courses in designing effective communications in both online and offline mediums. Interaction with physicians is also an important part of my position. Courses like the Biology of Disease help me to communicate with them more effectively and confidently with this audience.
    3. Benefits and challenges of online learning experience:
    While online learning lacks the face to face interaction of bricks and mortar courses, this did not prevent me from cultivating substantive professional relationships with current and former students as well as faculty members. I have maintained these relationships since graduation. A benefit of online learning is greater flexibility in managing your time. While the courses are not self-paced, you can complete your course work from any location where you have an internet connection.
    4. Favorite course:
    I enjoyed the range of topics covered throughout the Health Communication program. Among my favorites was Introduction to Health Communication, a course I have just finished facilitating as well. A highlight of this class is the creation of a comprehensive health communication plan. The plan, a capstone project of the program, is an outstanding opportunity to synthesize and apply course concepts to create a document that addresses a current health problem or crisis.
    5. Value of relationships formed during program:
    I have benefitted greatly from relationships formed during the program. The varied experience of my classmates encouraged me to view and understand health care issues from new perspectives. I have also maintained many of my relationships with fellow classmates since graduation. I meet with Boston based alums regularly. I have also met alums at professional conferences and stay in touch via social networks, including BU’s Facebook community for Health Communication alumni and as well as its Linkedin group. Recently, I collaborated with a former classmate to publish an article in the Journal of Communication in Health Care.

    My former classmates have also been an ongoing source of excellent information related to health communication. They have also been a good source of information on career guidance. In addition to receiving an excellent education from Boston University I gained an invaluable professional network of health communicators.

  • meeghan-decagnaMeeghan is a 2012 graduate of the Boston University’s Master of Science in Health Communication program. Professionally, she has extensive experience in marketing, having worked for 18 years in executive positions at a $100 million privately held company. Meeghan left the company and joined a non-profit organization where mission was equally as important as margins and the bottom line. She currently serves as the Senior Director of Communications, Marketing & Technology for the American Medical Student Association (AMSA), and oversees all communications, marketing, public relations, social media, web, media relations and membership functions for AMSA. Meeghan wanted to augment her marketing background as it applies to the health care industry and considered returning to school for a master’s degree. She looked at two programs and Boston University’s Master of Science in Health Communication combined her areas of interest. It only took one month from research, application to acceptance to the start of her first class.

    1. Current employer:
    I serve as the Senior Director of Communications, Marketing & Technology for the American Medical Student Association (AMSA). I oversee all communications, marketing, public relations, social media, web, media relations and membership functions of the Association. AMSA is the nation’s largest and oldest professional association for physicians-in training. Our mission is to inspire a community of medical and premedical students through education and advocacy.

    It’s because of the AMSA members that led to my research into a master’s program in health communication. I’m fortunate to work with some of the most intelligent, talented, caring future doctors. Working with medical students, hearing their hopes and concerns about patients, health equity, access to care, and a myriad of other subjects; I wanted to be credible on the health issues, the policy issues affecting our country, and I wanted to take my extensive experience in marketing and communications and marry that with health care.

    2. Career impact of health communication program:
    I had a pretty extensive background in marketing so for me, the opportunity to get the rigor of an MS degree meant that the science would be present and that was important to me. I needed and wanted to gain the language of health care, to understand how the health care system works, flaws and all. Conceptually people go to the doctor, but I don’t think the average person is looking holistically on how all the parts of our health system fit together. This program provides a deep understanding of that. Professionally, I’m excited to be in a career field that is intellectually challenging, creative and blends both the science of health with the art of writing and communicating. It speaks to both my interests. It also helps that health communication is a relatively new and growing field, which will only continue to expand.

    I feel personally fulfilled because I want to do work that allows me to “do well by doing good.” Having a sense of purpose personally that aligns with my professional goals is how I want to live my life. I feel very fortunate that I’ve been able to achieve this balance.

    3. Benefits and challenges of online learning experience:
    The online learning experience does not mean that you are alone in a room with no support, that couldn’t be further from the truth, but it does indeed require self-discipline, a willingness to learn some new technology tools and to be resourceful. While the learning is on your own time, it’s not on your own schedule. There are deliverables nearly every other day, so it does challenge you to absorb a lot of material quickly. But your classmates, facilitators, professor and the BU staff are terrific in helping you to organize your calendar.

    Clearly one of the best advantages to online learning is that the course material is available to you at all hours, so if you are an early bird or night owl you can access what you need, when you want it. And if you can’t make it to a particular live online class or conference call there are always archive recordings which is helpful with a geographically dispersed class.

    4. Favorite course:
    My first and one of the toughest course was Epidemiology, but I just loved it. I don’t think I’ll ever hear about an outbreak of a disease and not think about the epidemiology significance. This class helped me to understand the public health implications of tracking disease. And, of course, I was so fortunate to have Dr. Wayne LaMorte, BU’s award winning professor. Dr. LaMorte is truly the epitome of an extraordinary teacher. He certainly helped those of us who have not had math in a long time to apply it in a scientific way.

    The US Health Care System with Dr. Pauline Hamel was also a particular favorite. Among many things, Dr. Hamel taught me about the social determinants of health, health equity and health campaigns. This class really moved me as I began to look at the under-served in our society and the absolute crisis condition those without access to quality health care endure.

    5. Value of relationships formed during program:
    An unexpected outcome of this program is the wonderful relationships and community that is built with other classmates who hail from all parts of the world with diverse backgrounds and work experiences. Without realizing it, you develop rich meaningful relationships where you cheer on and champion your colleagues. My classmates have become friends and professional contacts. The generosity, desire to learn and to make a difference in this world is an enduring legacy that exists between current students and program alumni. These relationships are a gift to me, which I treasure.

Graduate from Boston University’s master’s in health communication program, and join the best and brightest minds of BU’s College of Communication (COM) and Metropolitan College (MET).

Together, COM and MET, boast over 46,000 alumni living in more than 45 countries and every state of the U.S. Many have won Pulitzer Prizes, Emmy Awards, and Clio Awards, while others are top-notch 21st-century business leaders. With more than 300,000 BU alumni worldwide, we offer an exceptionally distinguished and diverse network.

The students in this program helped with my learning process by solidifying our instruction with a diversity of real world applications that rivals any traditional learning setting.
Raed Mansour
2011 Grad

We believe one of our most distinctive traits here at Boston University is our focus on community. We want you to feel welcome. That’s why we strive to maximize the power of online education tools. We want to make this an engaging experience for you—and we will. To do so, we use the latest interactive technology and provide forums for group study and support. Now you can have a true BU experience, wherever you are.

Did you know? Compared to a traditional classroom, BU’s unique online learning environment facilitates stronger networking and collaboration opportunities. Due to its multidisciplinary nature, the MSHC program in particular attracts a diversity of high-caliber students and accomplished professionals. You’ll find that in each course, you’ll get to know professionals from various disciplines.

We hope that you will enroll in BU and join a tight-knit community, where best practices are shared and support is given freely. Don’t miss this opportunity to develop life-long professional relationships.

I have found the highest standards of education that I’ve ever been fortunate to experience throughout my lifetime. The program is up-to-the- minute in its relevance, materials (not an easy task for all the changes in today’s health care environment), as well as in execution.
Leigh Curtin Wilding
2011 Grad

News & Views

Spotlight: Battling Ebola – Heading Into the Outbreak

Health communication is critical when it comes to a global health crisis, like Ebola. This past weekend Dr. Nahid Bhadelia head straight into the heart of the Ebola outbreak that has already killed more than 800 people in western Africa, including at least 50 health care workers.

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Video Diary: Jane Hildebrant

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to participate in Boston University’s commencement weekend celebration?

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Spotlight: Battling Ebola – How Ebola Kills

Recently BU Today spoke with John Connor, associate professor of microbiology at the School of Medicine and a researcher at Boston University’s National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories (NEIDL) regarding prevention and treatment.

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The Addiction Puzzle, Part 1: An Overdose Lifeline

At Boston University, more than 100 researchers have been awarded over $130 million in addiction-related research…

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Program Overview Webinar

Watch Program Co-Directors, Professor Stephen Quigley & Dr. Domenic Screnci as they host an informative webinar about the program…

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Master of Science in Health Communication Video

This video provides details about Boston University’s Master of Science in Health Communication online, narrated by the program Co-Directors, Professor Stephen Quigley and Dr. Domenic Screnci…

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Spotlight: Battling Ebola – Heading Into the Outbreak

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On Saturday, the first of two sickened American health care workers was flown from Africa to a special containment unit at Emory University. Despite the risk of infection, medical personnel continue to travel to West Africa to help bring under control the worst Ebola outbreak on record, which has killed more than 900 people to date. The World Health Organization plans to spend $100 million to fight the outbreak, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will send 50 more aid workers. In this weeklong Special Report, BU Today talks to Boston University researchers in several fields about why medical personnel confront the risks; the ethical and political dilemmas presented by the outbreak; how the virus kills; efforts to design effective therapies; and other aspects of this unprecedented outbreak of Ebola.

If all goes as planned, Dr. Nahid Bhadelia will soon head straight into the heart of the Ebola outbreak that has already killed more than 800 people in western Africa, including at least 50 health care workers. Global and US health authorities announced Thursday that they would ramp up efforts to bring the epidemic under control, but that it would likely take at least three to six months.

Bhadelia is director of infection control at Boston University’s National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratory, an assistant professor of infectious disease at BU School of Medicine, and an associate hospital epidemiologist at Boston Medical Center. With funding provided by the World Health Organization (WHO), she’s slated to travel to Sierra Leone in mid-August, to share her expertise on infection control and also care directly for Ebola patients. We spoke about the growing crisis.

WBUR’s CommonHealth: This is the biggest Ebola outbreak ever, as far as we know. Is it notable in other ways?
This is the first time Ebola has been present in these three countries: Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Liberia. Because these countries haven’t seen the infection before, that impacted their ability to recognize and manage the infection early on.

Also, because of the recent travel of the American Patrick Sawyer to Lagos [where he died of Ebola], I think it has raised a lot more concern about transfer of Ebola abroad, which has not been much of an issue in the past.

A lot of the US media coverage has focused on, “Could it come here?” Part of that fear seems to stem from the sense that Ebola, with its hemorrhages and high death rate, is particularly horrible. Is it?
In some ways yes and in others no. Ebola Zaire, the strain we’re seeing right now, is one of the most deadly strains; it’s been shown in the past to have 90 percent mortality when no treatment is given. But in some ways, it’s much harder to transmit at a population level compared to respiratory viruses we’ve been hearing about such as SARS or MERS. It requires close contact with bodily fluids. So, for example, there’s been a lot of concern about travel of folks from the areas impacted to the developed world, and I think the reason it’s less likely to spread is because it’s limited to people who come into contact very closely with the person who’s impacted.

So many health care workers have been getting infected. Do you have a sense of why? Are there practices that might be easily correctable that you could have an impact on?
There are a lot of talented people there in the field already, not just from international organizations but people who’ve been working there a very long time. In Sierra Leone, for example, though they haven’t had Ebola before, they’ve dealt with Lassa fever, another viral disease that causes hemorrhagic fever, at Kenema—one of the places where Dr. Sheik Umar Khan, the leading physician who just died of Ebola, worked. That center has dealt with Lassa fever for over 25 years, and there are nurses there who have long experience. The issue is the amount of patients. You have nurses there who were taking care of maybe a dozen Lassa patients and now they have to see 70 Ebola patients. I think the major issue is the fact that the health care system is so overwhelmed.

One of the major ways to alleviate that would be the presence of more personal protective equipment and more sterile medical equipment in general. I know that the PPE—the personal protective equipment—is a major concern because there’s a dearth of it right now in the field.

Also, we understand that the virus can be transmitted from surfaces—so if someone comes into contact with bodily fluids with the virus in them on a surface, that’s another way to get it. The virus can live outside the host for a couple of days. So this contamination of the environment is another important component—and that’s very difficult if you can imagine 70 patients in a small space. Ebola is not hard to kill, so it’s easy to avoid contamination in general. It’s only because of the number of people and poor health infrastructure that it becomes difficult.

Boston University BU, School of Medicine BUSM, Nahid Bhadelia, Guillermo Madico, ebola infectious disease outbreak, National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratory NEIDL

Still, it’s so baffling that these leading, incredibly knowledgeable doctors are getting infected. How can that happen?
The number of patients plays a major role, and the lack of resources is a major concern. Also, here, when we train people to take care of patients with highly communicable infections, specifically Ebola and other hemorrhagic fevers, we always say that you can’t be in that heavy protective equipment for more than a short amount of time, and you can’t be on shift for more than four hours. And that’s with one patient, maybe. Now you have docs who are taking care of 40 patients and they’re doing it in seven-hour shifts or even longer. That could definitely contribute to infection among health care workers.

What’s it like to wear that protective equipment? Can it be compared to space suits?
What’s currently being used in the field is a full-body gown, masks, face shields, head covers, double gloves, and then rubber boots with covering booties over them.

All this material is a barrier to any transmission of any fluids, but a lot of times it also, as you can imagine, blocks air exchange and it can get extremely hot, especially given the heat in the countries that we’re talking about. I’ve read accounts from some of the folks who are down there, and you can get very dehydrated; you can lose a lot of your body fluids from being in that protective equipment for a long time.

Is there any new technology that you could bring that could help?
It’s not so much the need for more advanced equipment as much as just needing the proper amount of the equipment they already have down there.

In the US, we have equipment—the space suit you mentioned—which is basically the powered air-purifying respirators—what we call PAPRs—and that’s the headgear you see with the air filter attached to it. The issue with that is, A, it’s expensive—though it would be ideal to get it down there—and B, it requires electricity, and in the field it can be difficult to have a reliable source of electricity.

Do you feel confident that when you go to Sierra Leone, you’ll be able to avoid getting infected?
I think you’re asking me if I’m afraid at all. Yes, I have fears for my safety, I think it would be cavalier not to have a healthy amount of fear, but it’s that fear that drives us to be careful and to follow the protocols. I have extensive training and I have a background in infectious disease and particularly with these pathogens.

I’m reminded of the Hillel quotation, “If not me, then who, and if not now, then when?” The need is great. The health care workers are overwhelmed, and more help can make it safer for everyone involved. I think we all face risks when we walk out in the morning…

Not from Ebola!
Right, but then there are those of us who regularly face risk at work: Firemen leave the station knowing they could get hurt. Police officers patrol the streets knowing there might be a violent altercation. Even regular doctors go to work knowing they’re at risk for exposure to blood-borne pathogens and multi-drug-resistant organisms. But I think it’s very rare that we’re asked to give something back based exactly on our skills and knowledge, and I think I can contribute, and that’s why I’m going.

I also feel strongly about going in order to bring clinical acumen home with me stateside. Although doctors in the US are taught about Ebola, not many of us have seen patients with viral hemorrhagic fevers. The National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratory (NEIDL) plans to conduct research with virulent pathogens, including Ebola, and my job is to run the medical response program in the very, very unlikely event of an exposure. My experience in Sierra Leone will allow me to pass along on-the-ground expertise to health care providers locally at Boston Medical Center.

You have those skills and that knowledge. What can other people do?
We can contribute to education and awareness about this infection and what’s real versus what’s irrational fear—in terms of how this virus is transmitted and why it’s a big issue there and less likely to be an issue here.

Two aid workers, Kent Brantley and Nancy Writebol, were infected down there, and usually health care workers are “extracted” and brought home for care, but their extraction was delayed because countries were not allowing the government to fly them through their air space. That’s irrational fear.

Another way would be personal protective equipment: it’s very much needed and I understand the issue is just getting it into the countries and getting it distributed. Those who have the ability to contribute that, that’s a powerful way to help.

And if you’re a health care worker who has experience in caring for patients such as these, or who has training in biosafety procedures, you can volunteer…

So is this Ebola outbreak the shape of the future, somehow?
What comes to my mind is the T. H. Huxley quote: “The question of questions for mankind, the problem that underlies all others, and is more deeply interesting than any other, is the ascertainment of the place which man occupies in Nature, and of his relation to the universe of things.” Huxley was a biologist—he spoke at the time when Darwin was presenting his theory of evolution—and now there are more than 7 billion of us seeing to find balance with our surroundings.

Since 1970, we’ve seen the discovery of over 40 infectious diseases that impact humans. As we become a larger population, we encroach into ecologies we haven’t previously explored; we come into contact with endemic animals and this allows the pathogens to make a cross-species exchange more easily. So if the past 20 or 30 years are any indication, I think this may become more of an issue in the future.

“Published on BU Today, a version of this story was originally published on WBUR’s CommonHealth blog on August 1, 2014.

Day In the Life: Adjoa Adofo

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Have you ever wondered what it would be like to participate in Boston University’s commencement weekend celebration?

Take a minute to visualize yourself surrounded by your fellow classmates sharing your success stories. The feeling you get when you turn in your last assignment and realize this is it…. I’m done! And then that glorious moment, when you are handed your degree, knowing all your hard work has paid off.

Jane Hildebrant, a Master of Science in Health Communication graduate, was one of many students who experienced this moment by attending BU’s commencement weekend in Boston.

Watch Jane’s video diary, as she shares her experience at Boston University’s Metropolitan College commencement.

Spotlight: Battling Ebola – How Ebola Kills

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On August 2, the first of two sickened American health care workers was flown from Africa to a special containment unit at Emory University. Despite the risk of infection, medical personnel continue to travel to West Africa to help bring under control the worst Ebola outbreak on record, which has killed more than 900 people to date. The World Health Organization plans to spend $100 million to fight the outbreak, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will send 50 more aid workers. In this weeklong Special Report, BU Today talks to Boston University researchers in several fields about why medical personnel confront the risks; the ethical and political dilemmas presented by the outbreak; how the virus kills; efforts to design effective therapies; and other aspects of this unprecedented outbreak of Ebola.

The Ebola outbreak in Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia has now infected more than 1,600 people, according to the World Health Organization. To learn about how the virus kills and efforts being made at BU to devise diagnostics and therapies to treat it, BU Today spoke with John Connor, associate professor of microbiology at the School of Medicine and a researcher at Boston University’s National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories (NEIDL). Connor, whose research is funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, studies the tricks that viruses use to dominate their cellular hosts. He has been working collaboratively with researchers at BU and at other research institutions, with a particular focus on the Ebola virus.

BU Today: What aspect of the Ebola virus is the focus of your work?
Connor: My lab is interested in several different approaches to try to understand and stop diseases caused by viruses like Ebola. This includes the development of antivirals, vaccines, and point-of-care diagnostics, in collaboration with the Photonics Center and the lab of Selim Unlu, College of Engineering associate dean for research and graduate programs in the department of computer and electrical engineering.

Another thing we are looking at is what goes wrong with the immune response during viral infection. Our bodies are so good at responding to so many diseases, and in most cases we get sick for a couple of days and then we get better. Our response to Ebola is totally out of whack. The immune system appears to deliver a much more aggressive response than is necessary, one that causes a lot of damage to the body. That overreaction is a significant part of what makes infection with this virus so deadly.

What kind of damage is done by the overreaction?
The response is so strong that it triggers other pathologies. This can include diffuse intravascular coagulopathy, which is why the virus is often called a hemorrhagic fever virus. Normally, coagulation is constantly serving your body, so if you get cut you get a nice blood clot that seals you up. It’s a great way to keep your blood from leaking out. In the case of Ebola, you get clotting in inappropriate places, such as organs like the liver. The problem is, you have a finite number of clotting factors in your body, and they get depleted from the inappropriate clotting. When that happens, you have a hole in your body that needs clotting but won’t stop bleeding. All the small things that happen on a daily basis that are normally taken care of by coagulation are not working.

Do other viruses cause the same coagulation problems?
Ebola is one of the viruses that are most associated with that type of response. The Marburg virus, a cousin of Ebola, can also cause that response, and Lassa fever viruses can as well. Dengue virus can also cause a hemorrhagic disease, in rare cases.

Does every victim of Ebola hemorrhage?
No, but it happens a lot of the time, whereas in other viral infection such as the common flu, it does not happen.

Why is it that some people infected by Ebola get much sicker than others?
That’s one of the things we are trying to learn, but it’s hard. One of the problems of studying a virus like this is that you don’t have large pools of people to work with. Outbreaks of Ebola are sporadic. If you are studying HIV/AIDS, the prevalence of the disease means that you can readily identify 10,000 people. Ebola outbreaks are not predictable and, thankfully, most previous outbreaks were small. This makes other approaches to understanding the course of disease important to try. We are now collaborating with people at other labs who are using animal models of the disease.

What are you learning about how the virus works?
One of the things we’ve been surprised by is how early the immune system response begins and how robust it is. When we compare this response to other viruses, it appears that the response to Ebola is much stronger than to other types of disease. Also, it appears that specific types of responses are associated with survival from the disease. We are investigating whether this early immune response can be used to develop a diagnostic for early disease. Can we look very early, even before symptoms show up, and identify an immune system response to an Ebola infection?

How is the immune response of survivors different from that of people who die?
We have learned that it’s not just the intensity of the response. It also appears to be the type of responses that develop. One of the things we see in animals that succumb to the disease is one type of immune cell—a type of neutrophil—accumulates, whereas in animals that survive, that immune cell is not as abundant.

Are there any therapies that are effective?
There are no Food and Drug Administration–approved therapies. People are beginning to develop some therapies, and information from those studies says that the earlier an individual is treated, the better their survival.

If we can find ways to diagnose infection early, that will directly help effective therapy. And with early diagnosis, if you identify one patient that is symptomatic, suggesting that their course of disease is far along, early tests like the one we are developing will allow rapid testing of contacts of that first patient and early treatment of those infected with the disease.

We are really trying to understand what this very overactive immune response is and how we can start damping it down. Our lab is also developing antivirals that work against Ebola, and we are working on diagnostics that will be at the point of care. We have been focusing on developing a diagnostic for Ebola, Marburg, and Lassa, where point of care is a high priority. We are doing this with the Unlu laboratory at BU, with collaboration from BD Technologies and a spin-out company, NeXGen Arrays, which was started by BU alums and is primarily interested in developing these assays. We are also developing second-generation vaccine viruses in collaboration with Tom Geisbert, former associate director of the NEIDL. The collaboration started when Tom was at BU and has continued since his move to the University of Texas Medical Branch.

“Published on BU Today on August 5, 2014.

The Addiction Puzzle, Part 1: An Overdose Lifeline

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At Boston University, more than 100 researchers have been awarded over $130 million in addiction-related research and services grants since 2006, and faculty currently direct over 50 funded addiction-related research projects.

Part 1: An Overdose Lifeline
Drug or alcohol addiction affects nearly 23 million Americans and costs the United States an estimated $428 billion each year. Modern science has dispelled many misconceptions about the disease and scientists are working hard to find effective treatments. At Boston University, more than 100 researchers have been awarded over $130 million in addiction-related research and services grants since 2006, and faculty currently direct over 50 funded addiction-related research projects.

Still, many questions remain: why do some people become addicted and others don’t? Why are some recovering addicts able to maintain sobriety while others have chronic relapses? Does evidence-based research contradict what has been assumed to be effective screening and treatment programs? In what ways does addiction impact men and women differently?

This week, BU Today is repeating its weeklong series, “The Addiction Puzzle,” examining the work of five BU investigators.

Brigitte knew there was something wrong with her son. The day after Thanksgiving in 2011 he left their Foxboro home early in the morning, saying he wanted to get some Black Friday deals. “I knew something was up right then,” she says. After all, how many 21-year-old men care about sales at the mall?

When he returned that afternoon, her suspicions were confirmed. “I could just tell from his posture that he had been using,” she recalls. Brigitte (not her real name) had been shocked several months earlier to learn that her son was addicted to heroin. The rest of that day, she followed him around the house, unwilling to let him out of sight. At 1:30 a.m., she checked on him one last time. He was typing on his laptop and told her with a smile, “Mom, don’t worry. I’m too young to leave yet. I’m not going anywhere.”

A half hour later, his father was awakened by the sound of the laptop thudding to the floor. He checked, saw his son wasn’t breathing, and woke his wife and daughter in a panic. “We were all screaming at each other,” says Brigitte. “He looked totally lifeless. His lips and eyes were dark blue. It was horrible.”

While her daughter called 911 and her husband started rescue breathing, Brigitte ran downstairs and grabbed a small pouch from the top of the fridge. It contained two doses of naloxone—often called by its brand name, Narcan—an antidote for heroin overdose. With shaking hands, she sprayed a dose into her son’s nose. Usually, naloxone reverses the effects of an overdose almost immediately, but because the heroin had been laced with fentanyl, an opioid that can be hundreds of times more potent than heroin, nothing happened. She gave him another dose, and when the EMTs arrived, they gave him another.

Her son was finally revived in the emergency room over an hour later, and recovered fully. “All the doctors were surprised we had the Narcan and knew how to use it,” says Brigitte. “It’s a powerful tool to have.”

“An Overdose Lifeline MED Prof’s Controversial Plan Reduces Opioid Overdoes Deaths” BU Today. Barbara Moran, Mon. 11 Nov. 2013.

Program Overview Webinar

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Watch Program Co-Directors, Professor Stephen Quigley & Dr. Domenic Screnci as they host an informative webinar about the program.

Learn about the program, school & program highlights, curriculum overview, course spotlights and the admission requirements.

Click here to watch this webinar.

Master of Science in Health Communication Video

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This video provides details about Boston University’s Master of Science in Health Communication online, narrated by the program Co-Directors, Dr. Domenic Screnci and Professor Stephen Quigley.

They share information about Boston University, the benefits of online learning, details about the field of health communication, curriculum features, and more.

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