Faculty

At Grady College, graduate students work closely with internationally known scholars and practitioners in journalism, health and risk communication, media research, digital media and related areas.

Students also have the opportunity to study with outstanding faculty throughout the University, as they build their own specialty by choosing three cognate courses in public health, environmental science or another discipline.

Core faculty for the Health and Medical Journalism MA Concentration:


Patricia Thomas (JRMC 7340, 7355, 7356) directs the program and holds the Knight Chair in Health and Medical Journalism. She teaches and mentors graduate students, does research on health disparities and communication, trains reporters from traditional and ethnic news organizations, and helps health professionals to communicate effectively with reporters and the public.

She has decades of experience covering medicine, public health, and life science research, and from 1991 to 1997 was editor of the Harvard Health Letter. Her book Big Shot: Passion, Politics, and the Struggle for an AIDS Vaccine (PublicAffairs, September 2001) won national and regional awards and made The Washington Post's annual list of notable books.

Thomas graduated from UC Berkeley and earned her MA at Stanford University. She was a Knight Science Journalism Fellow at MIT and a visiting scholar in science and medical journalism at Boston University.

Don W. Scott, M.D., M.H.S, is an associate professor at the Augusta University-University of Georgia Medical Partnership in Athens. He received his Bachelors of Science in Biology from the American University in Washington, D.C., graduating Summa Cum Laude. He received his M.D. from the University of Chicago, where he was elected to the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society. After completing his internal medicine residency and a chief resident year in the Primary Care Internal Medicine Program at the University of Rochester in New York, Dr. Scott completed a Geriatric Medicine Fellowship at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and a Masters of Health Science in the Clinical Epidemiology of Aging at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

He joined the faculty at the University of Chicago in 2000. While at the University of Chicago, Dr. Scott received a Geriatric Academic Career Award, an Excellence in Clinical Care and Medical Education Award, was named as a fellow in the Academy for Excellence in Medical Education and participated as a scholar in the Harvard-MACY Institute for Scholars in the Healthcare Professions. In 2007, Dr. Scott moved to Southern Illinois University in Springfield, Illinois to help with the growth of Geriatric Medicine in Central and Southern Illinois. Most recently, he accepted the position of Director of Geriatrics and Palliative Care Education at the AU/UGA Medical Partnership.

Dr. Scott guest lectures in health and medical journalism courses, serves as a resource for graduate students, and has been an advisor to the Med School Project, an anthology of short documentary films produced by HMJ students.

Jeff Springston, Ph.D. (JRMC 8130, Special Topics: Media and Public Health. New offering, Fall 2009) is an internationally known expert on using health information to empower consumers, and he is especially interested visual and interactive communication. His research has received major support from the National Cancer Institute and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Springston is Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies at Grady College, where he teaches public relations management, research and campaigns. He has created a new graduate course, Media and Public Health, for health and medical journalism students and M.P.H. students from the College of Public Health.

In addition to publishing articles in dozens of scholarly journals, Springston has produced educational videos for consumers. He earned his Ph.D. in Organizational Communication at The Ohio State University.

Glen Nowak is a professor in the Grady College's department of advertising and public relations and director of the Grady College's Center for Health and Risk Communication. For the past two years, Dr. Nowak was a senior advisor to the Director of CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD) and a member of NCIRD's senior management team. He provided leadership and expertise in communication science, health communications, risk communication, news media, social marketing and public engagement. He was involved in projects and collaborations designed to increase vaccine confidence and acceptance, address vaccine coverage disparities and to promote adoption of vaccination recommendations. He was also involved in CDC's pandemic influenza preparedness and response efforts. His effective leadership of CDC's media relations efforts during the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic was recognized by Public Relations News. In 2009, PR News Non-profit PR nationally competitive award for "crisis management" was given to CDC in recognition of the agency's "outstanding media relations response to H1N1 influenza."

Prior to joining NCIRD's senior management team, Dr. Nowak served six years as the Chief of Media Relations at CDC, including serving as Director of CDC's Division of News and Electronic Media. In this position, he served as the senior media advisor to the CDC director and senior agency managers, and was a senior CDC spokesperson. Prior to joining the Office of Media Relations in June, 2004, Dr. Nowak served five years as the associate director for communications at the National Immunization Program at the CDC.

Prior to joining CDC in January 1999, Dr. Nowak was an associate professor of advertising and public relations at the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication. Dr. Nowak taught undergraduate and graduate courses in principles of advertising, communication and advertising research, communication and advertising management, social marketing, and health communications. Over the course of his career, Dr. Nowak has authored or co-authored a number of peer-reviewed journal articles on communications practices, social marketing, and health communications.

Dr. Nowak received his BS in 1982 from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, with majors in both economics and communications. He continued his studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he subsequently earned an MA degree in journalism (1987) and a PhD in the field of mass communications (1990).


Joe Dennis teaches multimedia skills to HMJ grad students.
Joe Dennis teaches multimedia skills to HMJ grad students.?