MPH Elective Course Option: Health Communication


Based on an ecological model of health, MPH@GW’s health communication elective courses help students learn to use communication and marketing as strategic tools to influence people, places and environmental conditions in ways that advance public health initiatives.

Social media and the internet have enabled health education and awareness campaigns to reach a broad audience very quickly, and the boom in new technology means an increased amount of data is available to analyze. To leverage these tools and opportunities, the industry needs strong communicators with leadership skills and marketing expertise to drive health care initiatives.

Elective Courses

With MPH@GW, you will complete up to 16 elective credits. Interested in health communication? Consider choosing the following elective courses to match your interests:

  • Community Engagement and Advocacy
    (PUBH 6054, 2 credits)
  • Social and Behavior Change Communication
    in Middle-to Low-Income Countries (PUBH 6452, 2 credits)
  • Preventing Health Disparities (PUBH 6514, 2 credits)
  • Social Marketing: Theory and Practice (PUBH 6571, 2 credits)
  • Marketing Research for Public Health (PUBH 6572, 3 credits)

What Can I Do With Health Communication?

MPH@GW’s health communication courses prepare you to implement and supervise the communication and marketing components of public health initiatives to increase public understanding of pressing health concerns. Professionals with a background in health communication may be able to create and lead clinical- or community-related awareness initiatives that promote health screenings, educational programs, immunizations and other advocacy efforts.

Career Outlook 

Employment of advertising, promotions and marketing managers is estimated to grow by 6 percent from 2019 to 2029, which is faster than the average growth rate for all occupations1. The rising need for marketing professionals in health-related fields is due to the evolution of social media, advancements in technology and increased efforts to improve individual and community health and promote healthy behaviors.

Professionals in health communication may work closely with the media, responding to stories on health, communicating risk and confirming or rectifying stories. They may also design campaigns regarding school-based health initiatives, anti-tobacco programs, violence prevention and health disparities in historically underrepresented populations.

Health communication professionals may work in settings such as:

  • Private consulting firms
  • Research institutes
  • Wellness centers
  • Large government agencies
  • Public media organizations

1Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, (Accessed July 23, 2020)arrow_upwardReturn to footnote reference