Ph.D. Brown University, 1982
M.A. Stony Brook University, 1974
B.A. Barrington College, 1970
Areas of Specialization
linguistics, health literacy, public health
Overview of Research
I am a trained sociolinguist and internationally respected expert in health literacy and public engagement with health and science. As a sociolinguist and educator I focus on analyzing and closing the information gaps between expert knowledge and public understanding of health and safety. I am the lead author of Advancing Health Literacy: A Framework for Understanding and Action (with Andrew Pleasant, PhD., and Dr. David S. Greer, Jossey-Bass/Wiley 2006).
As both an NIH grant funded researcher as well as a DHHS/NIH/AHCR/AHRQ contract awardee, I have designed and executed a wide range of projects to develop and empirically test linguistically and culturally appropriate consumer/patient health information and I routinely conduct readability, usability and health literacy load analysis of patient information tools including websites, apps, SMS/texting, IVR systems as well as print and other mixed media. Collaborative work with target audiences and community members in under-served communities has been fundamental to my research, program development and evaluation activities, as well as my teaching. I have designed and taught graduate level courses in qualitative research, health literacy, health promotion and health and environmental communications for over three decades, designing the qualitative methods courses and health literacy and environmental literacy courses at Brown Univ., Mount Sinai School of Medicine, CUNY School of Public Health, and currently a Professor in Anthropology at Hunter College.