Fall 2023 - HSCI 412 D100

Health Communication (3)

Health Communication

Class Number: 4689

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Sep 6 – Dec 5, 2023: Mon, 9:30 a.m.–12:20 p.m.

    Oct 10, 2023: Tue, 9:30 a.m.–12:20 p.m.

  • Prerequisites:

    HSCI 312 and two HSCI 200-level courses, with a minimum grade of C-.



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.


Prerequisites:  HSCI majors with 90 credits. Graduate Students require permission of the instructor.
EXPECTATIONS / IMPORTANT NOTES: The instructor may make changes to the syllabus if necessary, within Faculty / University regulations.

Calendar Description:
This course seeks to integrate and apply knowledge from both academic disciplines and non-academic fields to jointly develop innovative, communications-based solutions to current public health challenges. Coursework emphasizes message planning, design, and dissemination strategies and includes opportunities for individual and group work.

Course Description: The course is designed to teach Health Science students about health and risk communication theories and the tools used to create and disseminate health messaging. The course is applied in nature, providing multiple opportunities for students to design and create health communication messages in the areas of public and environmental health.  Students will have the chance to apply the knowledge they have acquired in other Health Sciences disciplines such as health promotion, environmental health, health systems and, health equity.  Students' assignments include both individual and group work and include opportunities for honing presentation skills as well as self-reflection and peer assessment.  There will be weekly readings assigned from the textbook and research articles and a late-term, in-class Quiz that draws from this material as well as class slides and presentations. This course will help students develop strong communication and team-building skills. When possible, this course will include work with City Studio,  an innovation hub that brings together city staff, students, faculty and community to co-create experimental projects that make the City of Vancouver more sustainable, equitable, joyful, and inclusive.

Course Delivery: This course is delivered 3 hours per week, with some classes in person and some offered via Zoom. A schedule of course delivery will be provided during the first two lectures. A class may be canceled or switched to Zoom if the instructor becomes ill, is required to isolate, or provide care for a person who is ill. Guest lectures and visits from City Studio partners may also be done via Zoom.


Course Objectives:  
Upon completion of the course, students will be prepared to:

  1. Describe frameworks that are foundational for health communication and community engagement
  2. Researching health communication strategies, solutions and techniques for crafting public health messaging including data visualization, short videos, podcasts, social media, and press releases.
  3. Thinking creatively and applying knowledge to real-life scenarios, *may include working with partners external to SFU. 
  4. Create communication-related solutions for community settings and design strategies that allow for testing and evaluation of these solutions.
  5. Critically reflecting on health communication requires creative, adaptable and reflective processes to assist in the design of solutions that will contribute to health and well-being.
  6. Create health communication programming that is respondent to emerging public health threats  (topics vary by term)


  • Reading Log 10%
  • Participation (includes self and peer assessment) 15%
  • Term Assignments with in class components 30%
  • Quiz 20%
  • Final project and presentation 25%


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 https://www.lib.sfu.ca/help/academic-integrity/plagiarism-tutorial. 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 class 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.



Online Resources: The course will use SFU platforms, including Canvas and Zoom 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 notifications. The instructor may make minor changes to the syllabus throughout the course. Changes will be announced in class and through Canvas.


Influence, Robert Cialdini -2021 version (an update)- ISBN 0062937650

The Mission, the Message and the Medium (available free online)


Your personalized Course Material list, including digital and physical textbooks, are available through the SFU Bookstore website by simply entering your Computing ID at: shop.sfu.ca/course-materials/my-personalized-course-materials.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity website 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


Students with a faith background who may need accommodations during the semester are encouraged to assess their needs as soon as possible and review the Multifaith religious accommodations website. The page outlines ways they begin working toward an accommodation and ensure solutions can be reached in a timely fashion.