Mesfin Bekalu, PhD

  • Dr. Mesfin Bekalu is a  Research Scientist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

Research Focus

Dr. Bekalu’s research interests include: studying the link between communication inequalities and health disparities; and investigating the intended and unintended effects of media and messages on health-related attitudes, beliefs and behaviors. This involves studying the effects of campaign materials designed and produced for strategic communication purposes and delivered through different media (print, broadcast and the Internet) as well as the unintended harmful and/or beneficial effects of media and messages on health-related outcomes in secular communication contexts. His studies draw on different communication and behavioral theories that advance our understanding of health-related behavior change processes. 

With the lab, Dr. Bekalu is working on: Project MassHINTS, Project SNAP, Project SUS-FOOD – public perception of nano-enabled food. He has also worked on a Movie coding project in which he tried to determine the amount and nature of smoking and drinking depiction in locally produced Ethiopian movies


Dr. Bekalu has a PhD in Social Sciences from University of Leuven, Belgium. His research interest in communication inequalities as they relate to disparities in health outcome, and the fact that the Viswanath Lab focuses on this research area brought him to the Lab.

Dr. Bekalu plans to continue working with the Lab.