Hawaiʻi Pacific University Commences New Master’s Degree in Health Communication

Hawaiʻi Pacific University (HPU) has launched a new Master of Arts in Health Communication degree (HealthComm), set to begin summer 2024. The program takes fifteen months to complete, with all coursework taken online. HPU is the first and only university in Hawaiʻi to offer this dynamic, market-relevant program that was designed to meet the evolving needs of the healthcare sector.

“Launching the Master of Arts in Health Communication degree at Hawaiʻi Pacific University marks a significant milestone in addressing the growing demand for skilled health-communication experts,” said HPU Dean of the College of Liberal Arts Allison Gough PhD. “In a rapidly-evolving health-care landscape, this program is designed to equip professionals with the expertise to navigate the nuances of health-care messaging and all the regulatory requirements surrounding communications. Graduates will emerge with the knowledge and skills needed to excel in diverse roles within government agencies, public-health arenas, non-governmental and community organizations, corporations, and more. This initiative underscores our commitment to fostering effective and ethical health-communication practices, contributing to the betterment of health outcomes for diverse and underserved populations.”

Students in the HealthComm program will acquire the skills needed to utilize communication theory, methods, principles, and technology for promoting effective health communication. They will develop an understanding of the communication needs in health for diverse and underserved populations. Students will create health communication campaigns for various target groups, showcase ethical and socially-responsible practices, and analyze research across key areas of health communication.

“Future graduates from the HealthComm program will discover diverse opportunities across government agencies at the local, state, and federal levels,” Gough highlighted. “They will leverage their skills in various public-health settings, including hospitals, medical practices, health-insurance companies, pharmaceutical manufacturers, non-profit advocacy organizations, large corporations with health and wellness programs, health-care organizations, and public relations firms.”

According to the US Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS 2022), the employment outlook for health-communications professionals is expected to grow by 12% from 2021 to 2031, surpassing the average growth rate for all occupations. Recent data from Lightcast (“Heath Communication Programs.” August 2023) projects that 24% of job postings prefer or request a Master’s degree. This trend suggests a growing need for skilled health-communication experts in our evolving health-care landscape.

HPU students also have the option to enroll in the “Foundations of Healthcare Communication Professional” micro-credential while in the HealthComm program. This micro-credential includes two courses that are taken online. The six-credit micro-credential will further encourage students to shape and deliver effective professional heath-care messages for diverse audiences.

To learn more about the HealthComm program at HPU, click here.

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