Center Staff

Xiaoli NanDirector

Dr. Xiaoli Nan is a social scientist studying health and risk communication. Specifically, her research investigates how to effectively communicate health risks (including environmental risks that pose significant health threat) to the general public and under-served populations to promote behavior change and informed decision making. Dr. Nan's research addresses the basic processes of human judgment and decision making related to health risks and the implications of these processes for effective risk communication via traditional and emerging communication channels (e.g., social media, mobile communication, virtual reality). Dr. Nan's work prioritizes several health domains including cancer control, vaccination, food safety and nutrition, and climate change. At Maryland, Dr. Nan teaches courses on health and risk communication, persuasion and attitude change, media effects, and quantitative research methods. Dr. Nan has published extensively in her areas of specialization and has received research funding as PI or Co-PI from sources such as the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Department of Energy's (DOE) Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), and the Food and Drug Administration, totaling over $5.5 million. For more information about Dr. Xiaoli Nan, visit

Link to COMM Department Faculty Page

Irina Alexandra IlesAssistant to the Director

Irina Alexandra Iles (M.A., University of Maryland) is a doctoral candidate specializing in the application of persuasive communication to health contexts. She uses quantitative research methods to explore the interplay between message properties, cognition, and emotion with the goal of promoting attitude and behavior change. Irina is also interested in potential byproducts or unintended consequences that persuasive health messages may have at the individual and societal level. Her research has been published or is forthcoming in outlets such as Health Communication, Journal of Health Psychology, American Journal of Health Behavior, Health Education, Health Marketing Quarterly, Journal of Risk Research, Communication Review, and the Sage Encyclopedia of Health Communication. She has earned top paper awards in health communication at National Communication Association, International Communication Association, and Eastern Communication Association conferences. Irina has worked on several grant-funded projects and has been an Intern with the Food and Drug Administration for two summer terms.


Jungmi JunResearch Scientist

Jungmi Jun (Ph.D., George Mason University) conducts research in Health and Strategic Communication. She is particularly interested in examining health information disparities among underserved populations and communicating preventive care and medical tourism issues with the populations. You may find her research publications in influential medical, health, communication, and PR journals including American Journal of Health Behaviors, International Journal on Advances in Life Sciences, Journal of Health Communication, Health Communication, Journal of International and Intercultural Communication, Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention, Journal of Cancer Education, and Public Relations Review. Her work has received top/best paper awards from the National Communication Association and the Global Health Conference. Currently, Jun is serving as a Research Scientist of the Center for Health and Risk Communication at the University of Maryland. She is examining mobile communication strategies to promote Integrated, Personalized, Real-time Traveler Information and Incentive (iPretii) technology funded by the Department of Energy. Before joining the CHRC, she was an Assistant Professor at Wayne State University and the University of Northern Iowa.