Subject: Health Communication

Scientific Area:

Preentive Medicine and Social Sciences


20 Hours

Number of ECTS:




Overall objectives:

a) Acquisition of knowledge and notions on health communication, attitudes and skills on health communication, particularly from the perspective of the population and social subgroups, considered as target audiences;

b) Adequacy of the message to the target audience: How to communicate results with the scientific community: The most effective ways to graphically represent information and where to present scientific results; Articles versus Posters; Importance of networking.

c) Acquisition of theoretical knowledge, instruments and methodologies to support effective communication in health promotion and disease prevention.

d) Acquisition of knowledge, attitudes and skills to deal with people and institutions, in normal, risk and public health crisis situations. How to communicate with society. Relationship with journalists and Media (MCS). Knowledge and ways to contribute to the increase of health literacy in Preventive Medicine and better ways to transmit information to users. Analysis of the impact of advertising campaigns.

e) To qualify for Communication as a tool to support decision making: Preparation of policy briefs; Construction of a strategic communication plan; How to prepare an effective presentation (in PPT or just pitch); Communication in a crisis context based on case studies, with the elaboration of good practices and checklist of steps to execute in these moments.

f) The tools and knowledge to elaborate a communication project in health - elaboration of a strategic communication plan for your workplace.



Theoretical-practical classes for a total of 18 hours and a Seminar lasting 2 hours, according to the calendar.

The teaching is based on the understanding of the essential functions of Public Health considering health communication as one of the most important. In the first TP, the fundamental concepts, scope and notions of health communication are presented: health and communication, theories and application, strategies. In the sessions, students learn the main ways to represent information to the public, what kind of graphics to use, what products to develop to reach the intended messages to certain target audiences. In the remaining TP, more specific topics are covered with corresponding exercises in the theoretical-practical classes.


1. Bohlman, LN; Panzer, A.M, Kindig, DA. (2004). Health literacy: a prescription to end confusion. Washington: The National Academic Press.

2. Dearing, JW. (2006) Handbook of Health Communication. Athens: Ohio University.

3. Dora C ed. (2006). Health, Hazards and public debate: lessons for risk communication from the BSE/CJD saga. Copenhagen: WHO.

4. EPHO: short version ( systems/public-health-services/policy/the- 10-essential-public-health-operations.

5. Hyer RN, Covello VT. Effective media communication during public health emergencies: a WHO field guide. 2005. Genève: WHO.

6. Jakobson, R. Linguística e Comunicação, (8531602270).

7. McQuail, D. Teoria da comunicação de Massas. Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian.

8. Thompson TL, Dorsey AL, Miller KI, Parrott R. 2003. Handbook of health communication. New Jersey: Lawrence Earlbaum Associates;.


Assesssment methods and criteria:

 The final work includes an oral presentation with powerpoint, held by a group of students, with the elaboration of a communication plan; a scientific paper/report (up to 5 A4 pages, font size 12 and single spaces) with a communication plan on a given topic; for the elaboration of the plan they have to proceed to a brief literature review.

 Assessment of learning will be quantitative through the continuous evaluation and group work. 

 Evaluation of teaching: questionnaire to be made available by UMa for the evaluation of teaching by the students, to be filled in at the end of the optional log.