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Health Communication Concentration

Bring Clear Communication to a Complex Industry

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Master of Science in Communication?
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Improve Patient Care and Outcomes

Prepare concise, powerful communication to the increasingly complex healthcare industry, where stakes are high, lives may be at risk, and good communication can make the difference. You’ll improve interaction with teams both inside and outside your organization, as well as industry stakeholders, care providers, government agencies, and patients.

Gain Career-Ready Skills

The Health Communication concentration is comprised of 9 credits over 3 courses. By the end of the program you understand specifically how to:

  • Identify relevant theories and principles of leadership, organizational communication and data-informed communications planning in a healthcare setting
  • Understand how communication can increase team productivity
  • Develop comprehensive internal and external healthcare communications plans
  • Construct a communications plan to achieve a leadership position in a marketplace
  • Advise peers and colleagues as they work through their own communication challenges
  • Identify communication strategies to communicate with executives when stakes are high and explain the role of leadership and culture in global strategic communication

Careers in Health Communication

Any organization devoted to health promotion requires solid communicators who can speak simply and clearly about complicated subjects. Overall, healthcare occupations are projected to grow 18 percent by 2026, a rate that's nearly three times the average for all occupations.

The incredible growth rate of the industry amounts to 2.5 million new jobs, mostly due to the baby boomer population living longer, more active lives and requiring healthcare services.1

With a master's in communication focused on health communication, you can tap into this incredible growth without becoming a patient-facing medical professional.

A Health Communications Specialist with the Center for Disease Control (CDC), for instance, is focused on planning, managing and evaluating public health communications and campaigns devoted to disease prevention. The average salary for an CDC HSC is $78,113.2

Examples of other companies requiring Health Communications Specialists include3:

  • Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
  • Other government agencies
  • Biotech firms
  • Medical device manufacturers
  • Health insurance companies
  • Security companies
  • Healthcare publishers

Concentration Courses

Take these two courses.

  • Health Advocacy

    This course considers how federal, state, and local policy influence health status and health improvement. Through this course, students gain an understanding of the role of health communication campaigns in health advocacy efforts. To engage their understanding, students will apply an advocacy campaign model to address a relevant health issue.

  • Healthcare Communication

    The healthcare environment is increasingly complex and poses many challenges for communication professionals seeking to improve communication with key health industry stakeholders, including patients, providers, payers, government agencies, and others.

Choose a third course.

  • Public Health Administration

    An introduction to the principles of management as applied to public health organizations, particularly local health departments. Topics include the organization of the U.S. public health system, legal and ethical obligations of public health administrators, the public health workforce and human resource issues, public health budgeting and finance, and leadership in the public health agency. The course is designed to introduce master's level students in public health to the management skills necessary to successfully implement a public health program.

  • Theoretical Foundations of Health Behavior

    Coursework examines the theoretical foundations of health behavior. Students explore the development of a conceptual framework for understanding and facilitating behavior enhancement, elimination and/or maintenance in health promotion and education. Topics include current theories regarding health-related behaviors.

  • Design and Analysis of Public Health Interventions

    This course addresses professional competencies in design, implementation, evaluation and diffusion of health interventions in community settings. Program planning paradigms, determinants of health behavior and behavior change strategies serve as a basis for analyzing health interventions. 

  • Fundamentals of Epidemiology

    This course is an introduction to epidemiology, the study of the patterns, causes, and impact of disease in populations. Epidemiology comprises an important part of public health and medical surveillance and research, and is a key tool for health policy development. This course will discuss the basic principles and methods of epidemiology, including measurements of disease occurrence and association, study designs, and determination of causality. Contemporary examples will be used to illustrate the application of these concepts. 

Learn More About This Program

If you’re curious about how the Health Communication concentration in the online MS in Communications degree from Purdue could further your career goals, call us today at 877-497-5851 or request more information.


1 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2019 April). Healthcare Occupations. Occupational Outlook Handbook. Retrieved June 7, 2019, from

2 Glassdoor (n.d.). Center for Disease Control and Prevention Health Communications Specialist Salaries. Retrieved June 7, 2019, from,75.htm.

3 Glassdoor (n.d.). Salary: Health Communications Specialist. Retrieved June 7, 2019, from,32.htm.