CHRC Hosts 2023 Research Group Mini-Conference

The CHRC hosted its 3rd mini-conference, the first in-person mini-conference since 2019 and the first in our new center space in the Marie Mount Building. Over the past year, the five research teams conduct diverse projects unified by the topic of the year. This year’s topic was COVID-19. Media & Society.

Five student-faculty research teams presented their studies:

                                   “An Unclear and Distant Danger: Cognitive Construal, Cultural Distance, and Stereotypes
as Predictors of Risk and Support”

*Nick Joyce, Umisha KC, Tong Lin, Ari Perez Montes, *Kang Namkoong, & Romy Wang
Presenter: Tong Lin

                                                 “Messaging for Future Pandemic Preparedness: Effects of Moral Framing”

*Jiyoun Kim, John Leach, Ran Ma, & Kathryn Thier
Presenter: John Leach

“Older Adults’ Perception of COVID-19 and Successful Aging:
An International Application of CEMSA”

Delight Agboada, *Lindsey Anderson, Drew Ashby-King, Miriam Komuhendo, & Faith Afua Otchere Presenter: Delight Agboada

“Coping with COVID Blue: Appraisals of Stressors, Coping Strategies, and

College Students’ Psychological Well-Being”

Emily Dawson, Saymin Lee, *Kang Namkoong, Yuan Wang, & Jiawen Zhang
Presenters: Saymin Lee & Jiawen Zhang

                                                        “Psychological Roots of COVID-19 Vaccine Hesitancy in the U.S.:
A Theory-Guided Systematic Review”

Ashley Aragón, Max Erdemandi, *Xiaoli Nan, *Leah Waks, Shilin (Sophie) Xia, & Yumin Yan
Presenter: Shilin (Sophie) Xia

(Authors listed alphabetically *Faculty mentors)

The CHRC Research Group promotes research collaboration in CHRC’s core areas (health, risk, and science communication) among COMM faculty and students. CHRC holds monthly meetings where all the teams participated to share their progress and give each other suggestions. Several teams have submitted their manuscripts to conferences already and all groups will continue with preparing journal submissions over the summer.


Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine with syringe for injection

Promoting Adolescent HPV Vaccination among African American Parents through Message Framing


Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine with syringe for injection

Principal Investigator: Xiaoli Nan
Co-Investigators: Cheryl Holt, School of Public Health, UMCP; Min Qi Wang, School of Public Health, UMCP’ Shana Ntiri, School of Medicine, UMB; and Clement Adebamowo, School of Medicine, UMB
Funding Source: National Cancer Institute; $2,212,269 (2018-2023)

Summary: The 2014 President’s Cancer Panel called underuse of HPV vaccines “a serious, but correctable threat to progress against cancer.” The Cancer Moonshot Blue Ribbon Panel, more recently, identified expanding the use of HPV vaccines as a top priority for cancer prevention, especially in medically underserved populations. Effective communication is crucial to widespread adoption of preventive measures against cancer like the HPV vaccines. Built upon recent advances in communication and behavioral sciences, the proposed project seeks to to develop and evaluate a novel, theory-based message framing intervention to accelerate HPV vaccine uptake among African American adolescents. This project aims to 1) develop culturally appropriate messages framed in gains and losses and pretest these messages through community engagement; 2) determine whether/how the effects of message framing (gain vs. loss) on African American parents’ acceptance of the HPV vaccine are moderated by their prior beliefs about HPV and the HPV vaccine; and 3) evaluate the efficacy of a message framing intervention rooted in message targeting principles through a clinic-based randomized trial. Addressing a critical aspect of health disparities disadvantaging the African American community, this research represents a systematic and timely effort to address the national urgency of optimizing communication strategies for promoting HPV vaccination among key stakeholders.

Farm image

Preventing Farm Injury and Fatalities to At-Risk Youth in Rural Communities in the Southeast

tractor farm image

iot smart industry robot 4.0 agriculture concept,industrial agronomist,farmer using autonomous tractor with self driving technology , augmented mixed virtual reality to collect, access, analyze soil

Principal Investigator: Stacy K. Vincent
Co-PIs: Kang Namkoong, Joan M. Mazur
Funding Source: National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health, CDC; $1,356,806 (2016-2021)

Summary: Agriculture is one of the most dangerous occupations in the United States and tractor overturn is the leading cause of farming-related injuries or deaths. Dr. Namkoong has developed a smartphone-based health communication application (eCROPS) to promote an agricultural safety campaign and prevent tractor operator deaths from overturns.

The mobile communication application was designed to enhance social interactions among campaign participants and the effectiveness of a combined approach of agricultural education, health education, and communication to address the significant public health issue in rural communities. Dr. Namkoong also developed virtual reality tractor safety contents for CROPS project (vrCROPS). The vrCROPS was designed as a service embedded in eCROPS to maximize its effectiveness in tractor safety education. Through immersive virtual reality experience, vrCROPS enhances risk perception about tractor-related accidents and self-efficacy on tractor safety behaviors. This project allows us to examine the potential of a virtual reality immersion system in occupational safety education.

How Forecasters Decide to Warn: Insights on Tornado Risk Communication from the Southeast U.S.

Storm hurricane tornado map realistic composition with weather forecast screen spiral cloud image and text vector illustration

Principal Investigators: Brooke Liu, Anita Atwell Seate
Funding Source: the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START)

Summary: Tornados can have devastating consequences, and being able to warn the public about tornadic risk can save lives. Social scientists are prolific in their recommendations on how to “better warn” the public about tornadoes,  but they rarely work in partnership with operational forecasters. This begs the question of how applicable social  scientists’ recommendations are to the “real world.” The National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) just  funded new research on how forecasters decide to warn about tornadoes. Associate Professor Brooke Liu and Assistant Professor Anita Atwell Seate will lead a two-year project, which includes interviews with forecasters, ethnographic observation, and a longitudinal survey. The project involves 20 telephone interviews with NOAA forecasters, two months of ethnographic observations at two National Weather Service offices in the Southeast U.S., a baseline cross-sectional survey, and a six-month longitudinal survey. Project website: How Forecasters Decide to Warn: Insights on Tornado Risk Communication from the Southeast U.S.

Diet and healthy life concept background. The choice between fresh healthy food fruit and vegetables or unhealthy fast food and soda. Top view

Supporting the Health of Kentucky SNAP-Ed Participants through Engagement in Reshaping Local Policy, Systems and the Environment

food image

Diet and healthy life concept background. The choice between fresh healthy food fruit and vegetables or unhealthy fast food and soda. Top view

Principal Investigator: Daniel Kahl
Co-PIs: Kang Namkoong, Jarius Rossi, Jayoung Koo, Melissa Bond, Sarah Bowker, & Alison Diavis
Funding Source: Food and Nutrition Service, USDA; $450,591 (2015-2018)

Summary: This is a food and nutrition education project funded by U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). This project aims to promote healthy life choices in underserved populations. In this project, he has developed communication assessment tools to explore the connections between organizations, networks, and systems that often are not in communication with one another.

Classroom Desk And Drawn Blackboard Of Chemistry Teaching Top Vi

Agricultural Biotechnology Education and Outreach

classroom blackboard image

Classroom desk and drawn blackboard of chemistry teaching with books and instruments. Chemical sciences education concept. Horizontal composition. Top view

Leader Investigator: Xiaoli Nan
Co-Investigators: Clare Narrod, Victoria Ledford
Funding Source: Food and Drug Administration through the Joint Institute for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition; $40,000 (2018)

Summary: The Food and Drug Administration, in coordination with the Secretary of Agriculture, seeks to provide consumer outreach and education regarding agricultural biotechnology and biotechnology-derived food products and animal feed. The education and outreach is intended to be implemented through publication and distribution of science based educational information on the environmental, nutritional, food safety, economic, and humanitarian impacts of such biotechnology, food products, and feed. Through in-depth interviews with leading agricultural biotechnology consumer organizations, the research team is tasked to provide recommendations on dissemination strategies for reaching and providing information to various stakeholder groups. The research team develops strategies related to the “How,” “Where,” and “Why” of using particular information content, format, and channels.