Competencies for Health Communication Specialists: Survey of Health Communication Educators and Practitioners

Sung Yeon Park, Nancy Grant Harrington, Laura H. Crosswell, Claudia Parvanta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


For more than two decades, health communication educators and practitioners have been working toward establishing a competency model to guide health communication education. This article reports the results of a survey to identify competencies for health communication specialists with master’s degrees. To prepare the survey, a working group drafted a competency list through reviewing the literature and soliciting feedback from attendees at a professional society meeting, resulting in lists of items reflecting 18 knowledge domains, 11 skill sets, and 14 application bundles labeled “abilities.” The survey asked participants to rate the 43 items in terms of their importance and provide their opinions about the preparation of health communication specialists. The survey was disseminated online through professional associations and completed by 142 participants (74 educators and 68 practitioners). Nearly all of the 43 items were rated “somewhat important” or higher. The lists were reduced to 10 knowledge domains, three skill sets, and five abilities through factor analyses. Replication of the findings and triangulation with studies employing different research methods will help advance this line of inquiry.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)413-433
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Health Communication
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
©, Copyright © Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Communication
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Library and Information Sciences


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