Teaching Associate Professor
School of Media and Journalism

Ph.D., MPH, UNC-Chapel Hill
Joan Cates’ research examines the role of the media in shaping public awareness, policies and practices related to sexual health. As principal investigator of the American Youth and Sexually Transmitted Diseases Project, funded by the William T. Grant Foundation (2002-2006), she was responsible for the publication of the first national summary of the scope and impact of STDs in youth in a 2004 report, Our Voices, Our Lives, Our Futures: Youth and Sexually Transmitted Diseases. Her more recent research, funded by NIH, assesses the extent to which parents and health care providers respond to dissemination strategies by deciding on HPV vaccine for pre-teen boys and girls. Since 2014, she has been the recipient of an NIH R01 grant developing an intervention “Normalizing preteen HPV vaccination with practice-based communication strategies”. Winner of a 2005 IMPACT award for graduate research at UNC-Chapel Hill, Dr. Cates’ publications include articles in Vaccine, Journal of Adolescent Health, Social Marketing Quarterly, Perspectives in Sexual and Reproductive Health, American Journal of Preventive Medicine, Women’s Health Issues, Sex Education and the Journal of Rural Health.
Joan is co-director for the Interdisciplinary Health Communication (IHC) program, and teaches the MEJO/HBEH IHC colloquium course. In addition, she serves as a chairperson for theses and doctoral committees. 

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