A new, multidisciplinary minor – health, communication and media – will be offered to students through the Bob Schieffer College of Communication beginning next semester.
Dr. Wendy Macias, an associate professor and the associate dean of undergraduate studies in strategic communication, said the minor started as an idea last spring when the first related class was made available.
The Health, Communication and Media class is taught by one professor from four different departments, including communication studies, strategic communication, journalism and film, television and digital media.
“We have a growing number of faculty with experience in health communication who are either doing research or have expertise bringing that in,” Macias said.
Macias said the emergence of the TCU and UNTHSC School of Medicine has highlighted the importance of health communication.
“Having the med school come in has shown the importance of health communication for that unit at TCU and the world that we live in,” Macias said. “It’s important to be able to provide consumers and individuals with the tools that they need to be able to be effective health consumers.”
Macias also said that students have shown a desire to study health communication.
“There are so many jobs out there that are looking for health communication,” Macias said. “I’ve taught at TCU for about 10 years and happen to be in strategic communication, so I’ve had students come and talk to me because they know I do health communication, and they’re interested to go out there into those jobs but had a lack of that opportunity here.”
The minor has five required classes and then another selection of one three-hour course must be taken as well. Health, communication and media also fills the social science core requirement.
Macias said she believes the minor can complement a variety of majors.
“Psychology, sociology and anthropology all come to mind because health communication would be a little bit more applied,” Macias said. “Others would be the more health-focused majors as we would be adding the communication side to the health and science side.”