Next Leadership Lecture Series Discusses Public Health Campaigns

Two Arkansas State University professors will discuss awareness of public health campaigns in the next UA Little Rock Leadership Lecture Series on Feb. 22.

Two Arkansas State University professors will discuss awareness of public health campaigns in the next UA Little Rock Leadership Lecture Series on Monday, Feb. 22.

The lecture, “The Awareness Myth: From Awareness to Commitment in Public Health Campaigns,” will take place from 6:30-7:30 p.m. Feb. 22 via Zoom.

The featured speakers include Myleea Hill, professor of strategic communication at Arkansas State University, and UA Little Rock alumnus Marceline Hayes, chair of the Department of Communication Studies at Arkansas State University. The speakers will offer a critique of awareness culture and the development of a theoretical model, while providing advice for health campaign planners and insights for consumers who buy health products.

Hill and Hayes take on contemporary “awareness culture” in which awareness of a cause, like breast cancer, is seen as a panacea for all health problems. They argue that awareness as an endpoint in public health campaigns is misguided, ineffective, and possibly even harmful. Instead, they conceive of awareness as one step in the beginning of a robust campaign

Drawing on communication research and theories, Hill and Hayes offer a theoretical model depicting four overlapping elements of recognition/involvement, education/knowledge seeking, participation, and commitment. These elements can be used to guide health campaigns, research, and practice, which may help ultimately lead to cures and the eradication of disease.

“I hope people will attend who are interested in learning more about the role of awareness in behavior change,” said Dr. April Chatham-Carpenter, chair of the UA Little Rock Department of Applied Communication. “These faculty members have studied this in-depth, and their model will be useful for a variety of people.”

Hill worked as an award-winning reporter and photographer at small daily newspapers in Arkansas before moving into public relations and administration in higher education. She continues to serve as consultant and volunteer with media relations for nonprofit organizations. 

Hayes, a graduate of the Department of Applied Communication at UA Little Rock, is the author of several published manuscripts in prestigious journals. She joined Arkansas State University after faculty service at Western Illinois University in 2004.

The lecture is free and open to the public. Those interested in attending this zoom-based lecture should register at this link.  

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