Spring 2019 - HSCI 412 D100

Health Communication (3)

Class Number: 2993

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Jan 3 – Apr 8, 2019: Thu, 2:30–5:20 p.m.

  • Prerequisites:

    HSCI 312 and two HSCI 200-level courses.



Theory and strategies for health communication in health systems and in particular cultural contexts. Interpersonal communication in health care, the relationship between belief and the construction of clinical realities, and communication for promoting public health. Social marketing and other strategies for health promotion targeting communities and persons of diverse cultural backgrounds. Communication about environmental and health risks. Students with credit for HSCI 301 may not take this course for further credit.


The course will help you understand how communication shapes our understanding of health, and how perceptions are shaped by and in turn influence health communication. The course examines these concepts from the personal up to the societal and intercultural level. The class will direct group work to developing a health communication product or campaign that helps address a real-world health communication problem, provided to the group from representatives from Health Canada, and the BC Lung Association. Students will create a program and an evaluation protocol that they present to these groups during the final weeks of the term.


At the end of the course you will be able to:
·       Describe key concepts and theories about the communication of public and environmental health risks
·       Critically assessment approaches to health communication
·       Demonstrate understanding of health literacy/numeracy and its relevance to health and health communication
·       Understand the important role of risk perception in the communication process
·       Undertake an oral presentation with confidence and clarity
·       Demonstrate enhanced ability to develop health communication materials


  • Participation 10%
  • In-class presentation - individual- health communication product 15%
  • Paper- individual- health communication program/product 10%
  • Late-term exam 20%
  • Final paper- group 20%
  • Final presentation- group 10%
  • Reading Log 15%


IMPORTANT NOTES:  Changes to the syllabus may be made, as necessary, within Faculty and University regulations. Guest Lectures will occur during this class. 

Course Delivery: This course is delivered 3 hours per week. There is a TA for this course. Office hours are provided by the instructor, on a date that is agreeable to the class and professor’s schedule. If no date is possible, then office hours will be arranged between students and the professor via phone or skype.  

Religious Holidays: If a class or exam falls on a holy day of your religion, please notify the instructors two weeks in advance to make arrangements to make up the class or exam.  

Absences: Please let me know if you are going to be absent prior to class. An email will suffice. If you are absent due to an emergency, I would appreciate a note after the absence with an explanation. If you miss more than two classes due to an illness, a doctor’s note will be required. Students are required to make up the work that they missed unless otherwise arranged with the instructor. Absences without verification will result in a decreased participation grade. 

Tardiness: Repeated lateness to class will result in a decrease in participation grades.  

Late Assignments: A penalty of 10% will be given for late assignments. If later than one full calendar week, a zero grade on the assignment will be given unless otherwise arranged by the professor.  

Missed Exams: Missed exams will need to be made up by the student within 2 days unless otherwise agreed upon by the professor. If this time passes and arrangements for writing an exam are not made, the student will receive zero for the exam. If there is suspected tampering, i.e. discussing exam questions with other students, obtaining a copy of the exam by any means, electronic or otherwise, then the student will forfeit the right to sit the exam and will receive zero on the exam.  

Electronic Media in the class: Laptop use is allowed in the class. Phones, tablets and other electronic devices will be muted so as not to disturb the class.

All phone calls and texting are to occur outside of the classroom. Failure to do so will result in decrements to participation grades and after repeated violations, students will be asked to leave the class. The use of laptops for other than course purposes will not be tolerated during class time. If you are caught using your computer for social media, gaming or other non-related class activities, you will be asked to leave the classroom. Repeated infractions will result in a letter in your file and to the administration.  

SFU Academic Honesty Policy: FHS adheres to SFU Academic Honesty and Student Conduct policies. Students in this course are responsible for knowing these policies, at http://www.sfu.ca/policies/Students/. A tutorial on plagiarism is at http://www.lib.sfu.ca/help/writing/plagiarism. If the instructor believes a student has committed an act of academic dishonesty, he/she will submit a form reporting the matter to the SFU Registrar. In this course if you are found to have cheated (whether plagiarism or another type) you will be given a zero for that test or assignment. A review of plagiarism, “patchwork plagiarism”, proper citing and the use of quotes will be given in the first few weeks of class to ensure that students are very clear about what is acceptable. Repeated violations of the Academic Honesty Policy will result in the termination of your involvement in the glass and an overall failing grade.  

Group Work and Academic Honesty: Please note that these policies apply to solo AND group work. If a member of a group assignment violates the FHS policy, ALL STUDENTS IN THE GROUP will receive a zero grade. If you put your name on an assignment, you are assuming responsibility for what is included in this document and therefore the integrity of the document as well. If you believe a member of your group has violated the Honesty Policy, you should report this to your instructor PRIOR TO THE HANDING IN OF THE ASSIGNMENT to avoid having your grade affected.

Canvas: The course will use Canvas for this term. Students are expected to hand their assignments in and regularly check the canvas site for course announcements. Canvas will be the primary route of notification for assignments, grades and exams, followed by in0-class announcements. The instructor may make minor changes to the syllabus throughout the course. Changes will be announced in class and through Canvas.  

Assessment of presentations and written summaries will be based on:
1)     The quality and thoroughness of your research. You will be expected to cite references from peer reviewed and, where appropriate, other literature in either APA or Vancouver style.
2)     Your assessment and analysis of the topic. You need to think about the topic critically. You will need to assimilate information from different sources and synthesize it. Do not be afraid to disagree with conclusions of others where this can be justified. Do not merely report what others have found. Analysis and interpretation of evidence are key to this class.
3)     The organization of your oral presentation or writing. There should be a logical flow to what you present, not a jumble of random points.
4)     Your ability to identify key points for discussion and on effective leadership of the class discussion.
5)     Your ability to present information in an interesting and engaging manner, and your presentation style (i.e. ability to talk clearly, make eye contact, answer questions, etc.)
6)     Demonstration of learning from the lectures and readings


HSCI 312 and two HSCI 200-level courses. Students with credit for HSCI 301 may not take this course for further credit



Health Communication from Theory to Practice, Renato Schiavo, John Wiley and Sons, 2014 edition, available online and hard copy from SFU library.

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html