Associate Professor of Social and Behavioral Sciences
Associate Professor, Department of Medical Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute*
Director, Health Communication Core, Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center
Dr. Viswanath is an Associate Professor in the Department of Society, Human Development, and Health at the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH), a faculty member with the Center for Community-Based Research (CCBR) at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI), and director of the Health Communication Core of the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center (DF/HCC). Dr. Viswanath is the Co-Leader of the Cancer Risk and Disparities (CaRD) Program of the DF/HCC. He is the founding Director of DF/HCC’s Enhancing Communications for Health Outcomes (ECHO) Laboratory. He also chairs the Steering Committee for the Health Communication Concentration at HSPH and teaches health communication courses within this concentration.
Dr. Viswanath’s work, drawing from literatures in communication science, social epidemiology, and social and health behavior sciences, focuses on translational communication science to influence public health policy and practice. He particularly focuses on understanding and elucidating the relationship between communication inequalities and disparities in public and individual health in diverse populations and the implications for knowledge translation to influence public health practice and policy.
Before coming to Harvard, Dr. Viswanath was the Acting Associate Director of the Behavioral Research Program, Division of Cancer Control and Populations Sciences at the National Cancer Institute (NCI). There, Dr. Viswanath was responsible for 50 scientific and administrative staff and for extramural scientific developments in behavioral sciences at NCI. He was also a senior scientist in NCI’s Health Communication and Informatics Research Branch. He went from NCI to Ohio State University, where he was a tenured faculty member in the School of Journalism and Communication with an adjunct appointment in the School of Public Health. Dr. Viswanath was also a Center Scholar with Ohio State’s Center for Health Outcomes, Policy, and Evaluation Studies. Dr. Viswanath received his doctoral degree in Mass Communication from the University of Minnesota.
Boards, Associations, and Awards
Dr. Viswanath received the Outstanding Health Communication Scholar Award (2010), jointly given out by the International Communication Association and the National Communication Association. He is a recipient of the Mayhew Derryberry Award from the American Public Health Association (APHA) for his contribution to health education research and theory (2009). He was elected Fellow of the International Communication Association (2011), the Society for Behavioral Medicine (2008) and the Midwest Association for Public Opinion Research (2006). He was the Chair of the Board of Scientific Counselors for the National Center for Health Marketing at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) from 2008-2010. He is currently a member of the National Vaccine Advisory Committee of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Dr. Viswanath is active in numerous professional organizations. He was the Chair of the Mass Communication Division of the International Communication Association and is a member and past President of the Midwest Association for Public Opinion Research. He was the Head of the Theory and Methodology Division of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication. He is also a member of American Society for Preventive Oncology, the American Public Health Association, and the Society for Behavioral Medicine. He is a member of the Tobacco Task Force of American Association of Cancer Research.
Dr. Viswanath has written more than 120 journal articles and book chapters concerning communication inequalities and health disparities, knowledge translation, public health communication campaigns, e-health and digital divide, public health preparedness, community-based research, and the delivery of health communication interventions to underserved populations. He is the co-editor of three books: Mass Media, Social Control and Social Change (1999), Health Behavior and Health Education: Theory, Research, and Practice (2008), and the National Cancer Institute’s Tobacco Monograph: The Role of Media in Promoting and Reducing Tobacco Use (2008). In addition, Dr. Viswanath is the Social and Behavioral Research editor for The International Encyclopedia of Communication (2008), a 12-volume project published by Blackwell Publishing under the General Editorship of Dr. Wolfgang Donsbach.
For more information about Dr. Viswanath’s research, visit http://www.viswanathlab.org.
Ph.D., 1990, University of Minnesota