Research Professor
School of Media and Journalism, UNC-Chapel Hill
Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania

Brian Southwell joined the school in 2011 as a research professor and is adjunct associate professor in Health Behavior at the Gillings School of Global Public Health at UNC. He also serves as director of the Science in the Public Sphere program in the Center for Communication Science at RTI International in Research Triangle Park as well as teaching at Duke University as a social science adjunct professor. Prior to moving to North Carolina, Southwell was an associate professor and Director of Graduate Studies at the University of Minnesota’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication and held an adjunct appointment in the School of Public Health. He also previously worked for a variety of non-profit and government organizations, including the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, as well as Ogilvy Public Relations in Washington, D.C.

Southwell has conducted research on a variety of topics, including campaign measurement and evaluation, with special emphases on the intersection of interpersonal communication, social networks, and mass communication and on the role of aging. His work has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and other sources. Southwell’s research and theoretical contributions appear (or will soon appear) in more than 90 journal articles and chapters, in publications such as Social Science and Medicine, Communication Theory, Communication Research, Journal of Communication, Health Communication and the Journal of Health Communication. In 2013, Johns Hopkins University Press published his Social Networks and Popular Understanding of Science and Health and in 2016 RTI Press published Innovations in Home Energy Use: A Sourcebook for Behavior Change, a book he co-edited with Elizabeth Doran and Laura Richman.

He has served as senior editor for Health Communication and as a member of the editorial boards of Public Opinion Quarterly, Journal of Communication, Communication Research, Science Communication, Journal of Health and Mass Communication, and the Journal of Public Relations Research among others.

Southwell’s 2002 dissertation was awarded the Health Communication Dissertation of the Year jointly by the International Communication Association and the National Communication Association.  In 2006, he was awarded the Arthur “Red” Motley Exemplary Teaching Award by the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Minnesota. In 2012, the National Communication Association’s Health Communication Division recognized his 2007 Communication Yearbook review of the roles of interpersonal interaction in mass media campaigns (co-authored with Marco Yzer) with the Distinguished Article Award.

He also hosts The Measure of Everyday Life ( on WNCU (90.7 FM in the Raleigh-Durham market).



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