Dr. Brian Southwell will make a transition to UNC-Chapel Hill this winter from the University of Minnesota, where he currently serves as an associate professor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, and as an adjunct associate professor in the School of Public Health. Dr. Southwell is the newest addition to the group of Interdisciplinary Health Communication scholars at UNC. Upon arrival in early January, 2011, he will begin a joint appointment as a research professor at the UNC School of Journalism and Mass Communication (JOMC) and as a senior research scientist at RTI International at Research Triangle Park.


The transition to life and work in North Carolina is a welcome opportunity for
Dr. Southwell, his wife Jessica, and son, Gavin.


Dr. Southwell has been involved with teaching and mentoring students throughout his career, and particularly so at University of Minnesota where he is the Director of Graduate Studies at the School of Journalism. Even though his new position at UNC has a greater focus on research, Southwell said via phone that he is “eager and hopeful that UNC will give me the opportunity to work with students.”

Southwell will jump right into teaching this spring, leading JOMC 445, Processes and Effects of Mass Communication.  Southwell continued, “I am looking forward to teaching graduate seminars for IHC, and across the curriculum – campaign evaluation, probably, courses on other health communication offerings.” Some of his favorite seminars to teach include Mass Media and Social Change – which he describes as a “broad, theoretical course” — and Public Health Campaign Evaluation, a combination of theory and methods that brings in, according to Southwell, “local, real-world partners to work with students, reminding students of the practical utility of what they’re researching.” A third course possibility is Psychology of Advertising, including ethics and visual persuasion. “Any chance to teach that, work with great students, open their eyes a bit to the value of these ideas, I’m happy to do that,” says Southwell.

With regard to Dr. Southwell’s own work during this transition, he is both open to new possibilities, and plans to continue several current projects. Southwell will maintain his collaborative relationships with state health departments, such as the Connecticut Department of Public Health, with whom he evaluates an anti-smoking effort aimed at adolescents, and with the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), with whom he has worked extensively.

Southwell’s other efforts are in the colorectal cancer screening arena – working with such partners as local health care systems to address various audiences in Minnesota, in evaluation issues as they relate to aging and older adults — a new area of research, and on cancer survivorship – building networks and improving communication within networks of providers.  Southwell thrives on collaborations, and students and faculty involved in the Interdisciplinary Health Communication program at UNC are doing naturally what Southwell has been doing manually in the past – linking together to promote health through communication.

Welcome Brian Southwell at southwell@unc.edu.

Comments are closed.