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CCH Research Seminar

Health Communication Research Seminar
Drama, intrigue, and discussion: The role of telenovelas in facilitation sexual education in Mexican households
Presenter: Sapna Suresh, PhD Student
Presentation date:  October 27, 2021
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What is Black Feminist Health Science Studies?
Presenter: Moya Bailey, PhD
Presentation date:  November 17, 2021
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The Dynamic Roles of Media Technology and Emotion in Online Misinformation
Presenter: Jiyoung Lee, PhD
Presentation date: December 13, 2021
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What’s Hope Got to Do with It? Tapping into Emotion for Civic Engagement and Health Equity
Presenter: Stefanie Z. Demetriades, PhD
Presentation date: January 11, 2022
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Persuasion through Immersion:
The Role of Immersive Stories in Prosocial and Health Behavior Promotion
Presenter: Zexin “Marsha” Ma, PhD
Presentation date: February 24, 2022
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Mediated Motivations: A Content Analysis of Motivational Factors in Abortion Storylines on U.S. Streaming Services
Presenter: John J. Brooks, PhD Candidate
Presentation date: March 10, 2022
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Not Only Escapism, Not Always Maladaptive: Media Use for Coping with Stressful Situations
Presenter: Lara N. Wolfers, PhD
Presentation date: April 28, 2022
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Health Communication Challenges Associated with Highly Technical Content
Presenter: Todd Chermak, RPh, PhD
Presentation date: Wednesday, May 4, 2022
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Pandemic Messaging: Congressional Communication and the Mechanisms of Polarizing Rhetoric
Presenter: Annelise Russell, PhD,
Thursday, June 16, 2022
12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. CST
Click here to RSVP


Health Communication Research Seminar

A platform for cutting-edge work in health communication, forging  new collaborations, and building community.

Research is central to the mission of the Center for Communication and Health. To help keep us all connected and informed, a monthly research seminar hosted by the Center brings together faculty, staff, students, and field experts to discuss cutting-edge work in health communication, forge new collaborations, and build community.
Health Communication Research Seminar is held monthly, on dates to be determined, during the noon hour. Currently, we are limited to hosting the one-hour series via Zoom. The seminars are free and open to everyone. The only requirement is registration in advance.

June 2022

Pandemic Messaging: Congressional Communication and the Mechanisms of Polarizing Rhetoric


Annelise Russell, PhD is an Assistant Professor of Public Policy at the University of Kentucky. She is also a faculty associate of the U.S. Policy Agendas Project and a member of the Comparative Agendas Project. Dr. Russell’s research interests include questions about how policymakers communicate their agendas and the role of the media, particularly social media, in the political process. Much of her research is on congressional decision-making and communication, featuring her recently published book, Tweeting is Leading, with Oxford University Press. Dr. Russell publishes research across political science, public policy and communication, including in American Politics Research, Policy and Internet, Political Research Quarterly and Policy Studies Journal. Much of her interest in political communication stems from her work as journalist working for the National Journal, Congressional Quarterly, and the San Francisco Chronicle.


U.S. senators are increasingly turning to Twitter to stoke partisan divisions, and it’s not just what they say, but rather how they say it. Senators spent the Spring of 2020 responding to the Covid-19 pandemic, but the tone and framing used to engage a digital constituency was largely dependent on partisan alignment with President Trump. We use senators’ Twitter activity during the outbreak to offer new insight into the mechanisms of lawmakers’ party polarizing trends in congressional communication. We show that divisions stemmed from senators’ sentiment and framing — with Republicans more likely to incorporate positive for forward-looking steps for economic recovery and Democrats preferring a negative tone to address government failings and inadequate response by President Trump. This article extends the literature on polarizing rhetoric in the Senate (Russell 2021; Theriault 2013) by using the pandemic response to illustrate how the dynamics of senators’ digital rhetoric, even during a moment of shared crisis, continue to fuel partisanship and polarizing narratives.

Thursday, June 16, 2022

12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. CST

Virtual Presentations via Zoom

Annelise Russell, PhD

Assistant Professor
Martin School of Public Policy and Administration University of Kentucky

Interested in presenting your research? 

The Center is always looking to host a platform for your work. If you would like to give a talk or recommend a speaker,  please contact Rosa Ortiz (

Past Presentations