Expert on health communication to speak at WFU

By Maggie Barrett
April 13, 2006

What is the best way to get someone to stop smoking, or trade a junk-food diet and sedentary lifestyle for healthy eating habits and regular exercise? In an April 24 lecture, "Persuasive Strategies for Effective Health Behavior Change," health communication expert Nancy Harrington will offer some suggestions at Wake Forest University.

There may not be one single way to convince all people to change their individual unhealthy ways, but crafting and sending the right message is key, says Harrington, associate professor and chair of communication at the University of Kentucky.

The lecture will be free and open to the public, and will be held at 4 p.m. in the Annenberg Forum in the university's Carswell Hall.

Harrington's expertise focuses on designing messages to persuade people to stop engaging in health jeopardizing behaviors, such as drug use. She is interested in specifically what makes a message persuasive, as well as targeting message content to individual members of an audience. Her work has been funded by the National Institutes of Health as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Harrington's lecture at Wake Forest is part of the communication department's Faculty Colloquium Series.

For more information, contact Meg Zulick, associate professor of communication at Wake Forest, at (336) 758-5405.