Purdue News

October 9, 2006

Purdue researchers look at health, communication issues in China

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue University's communication scholars are participating in the first China Public Health Communication Conference at Tsinghua (Pronounced Ching-zu) University in Beijing.

Twelve Purdue faculty members and 13 graduate students will attend the Oct. 13-15 conference that will spotlight research in China regarding health issues, as well as honor journalists who cover health-related stories in China. Purdue faculty representatives include 10 members of the Department of Communication, a professor of health sciences and the director of Purdue's Regenstrief Center for Healthcare Engineering.

In addition to conference panels and presentations, the Purdue participants will be touring health-care facilities and meeting with health-care leaders and hospital chief executive officers. The Purdue delegation also will meet with representatives from the U.S. and China's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offices.

"This is an incredible opportunity to see the inside of a different health system that handles things in a much different way and, until recently, the system was not very consumer-oriented," said Howard Sypher, professor and head of the Department of Communication.

Purdue's Department of Communication also was active in recruiting international health media representatives to attend and participate in the conference.

"The role of the media is very important when it comes to disseminating information about health communication," Sypher said. "This also is an interesting time to be in China having conversations with journalists regarding the country's media restrictions. Historically, the media in China have not been as open as media in the West. Now China's media are struggling with how open to be and adapting to strong limitations often placed on its media."

Purdue associate professors in health communication Mohan Dutta, Susan Morgan and Marifran Mattson will participate on panels that include "Current Public Health Issues in China and U.S.," "The Media's Role in Public Health Communication" and "Public Health Crisis Management: Challenge and Solution." Also, Purdue alumni from related-health fields will be attending the conference, as well as Purdue alumni living in Beijing.

In addition to the Department of Communication's support of the conference, the College of Liberal Arts and the Regenstrief Center for Healthcare Engineering also are involved. Other sponsors are the China Ministry of Public Health's Information Office and the Center for International Communication Studies at Tsinghua University.

In addition to these recent developments involving health communication, Purdue and Tsinghua universities have longstanding and active collaborations in instructional and research areas involving engineering and technology.

Writer: Amy Patterson Neubert, (765) 494-9723, apatterson@purdue.edu

Source: Howard Sypher, (765) 494-3300, hsypher@purdue.edu

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096; purduenews@purdue.edu


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