Netherlands, Nijmegen

Health, Culture and Communication: An International Perspective

when 13 August 2018 - 17 August 2018
language English
duration 1 week
credits 2 ECTS
fee EUR 535

Health communication can play a key role in promoting healthier lifestyles and reduce chronic diseases, which are the leading cause of mortality in the world. The way people deal with diseases and experience illness is strongly influenced by culture. In this course students are exposed to theoretical models and empirical findings on how, and to what extent, culture influences health communication. The course will focus on both traditional and new communication tools that are used in health promotion strategies, with a focus on written and online discourse.

The course contains the following themes:
- Introduction to key global health developments of the past twenty years. We will look at how the focus of public health actions differs widely across the globe and changes over time. We will investigate the health challenges faced by different countries and how these challenges are influenced by factors of socio-economic, geographical, and cultural nature.
- Culture and communication: an introduction to basic discourse analytical concepts and research approaches. What is discourse? How can we examine the role of culture in communication? What is the role of categories in discourse and category-bound activities, face and politeness?
- Behavioural change theory: How is changing attitudes and human behaviour explained in models of behavioural prediction? Specific emphasis will be on fear appeals: How do people from different cultures perceive and react to threatening information?
- eHealth interventions: online programs are increasingly used to improve health behaviours. What is the role of culture in e-health interventions? For instance, a lot of advisory literature on online counselling is written in English and based on UK/US experiences and examples. Should online counselling be tailored to cultural circumstances?

During the first four days of the course we will start with an interactive lecture to introduce key theories and concepts. Thereafter, participants are expected to actively participate in group or plenary discussions. In the afternoon, participants work in groups to prepare a health communication strategy for a particular country or target group. Students can choose between health prevention in the more affluent Western world, or focus on a country or target group in Sub-Saharan Africa. Examples of health themes that students could investigate include: prevention of communicable diseases like HIV/AIDS, Malaria, Cholera; promoting immunisation programmes for the prevention of Hepatitis; prevention of non-communicable diseases like Diabetes, Heart disease, Cancer; and prevention of depression and suicide.

The final product of each group, a health communication strategy, will be presented during the last day of the course. Participants will receive relevant research tools, research articles and reports to facilitate their investigation.

Course leader

Dr. Lieke Stoffelsma
Researcher Language and Communication
Centre for Language Studies
Radboud University

Dr. Wyke Stommel
Assistant Professor Language and Communication
Centre for Language Studies
Radboud University

Target group

Advanced Bachelor, Master, Professional. Students are expected to have a Bachelor’s degree (or be in an advanced stage of their Bachelor) in one of the following fields: Language and Communication Studies, Linguistics, Social Sciences, or Public Health. This course is designed for students from the following disciplines: Language and Communication Studies, Linguistics, Social Sciences, and Public Health.

Course aim

After this course you are able to:
1. Understand and explain key global health developments and relate these to factors of socioeconomic, geographical, and cultural nature.
2. Apply relevant theoretical concepts and research approaches in the area of health, culture, and communication.
3. Develop an analysis about the role of culture in a particular case of health communication.
4. Present a culture-sensitive health communication strategy.

Fee info

EUR 535: The fee includes the registration fees, course materials, access to library and IT facilities, coffee/tea, lunch, and a number of social activities.


We offer several reduced fees:
€ 482   early bird discount – deadline 1 April 2018 (10%)
€ 455   partner + RU discount (15%)
€ 401   early bird + partner discount (25%)

Register for this course
on course website