New Media and Health Communication

Current facets (Pre-Master)

A cross-cultural perspective

This PhD project is about Health communication issues among Hui minority people in Shenyang (China). This study aims to contribute to the development of health communication in mainland China and to enhance knowledge about health communication targeted at the Hui ethnic minority group in China. The main question addressed in this project is: How do Hui minority people access, evaluate and use health information from different channels in particular with respect to Cardio-Vascular Diseases?

This study aims to contribute to the development of health communication in mainland China. In China, there is health communication research existing. The academic and professional field of health communication did not start from the field of Communication Study but rather from the Health Education area (Zhang, 2009). As an emerging area of study, health communication was off to a much later start in China, with the UNICEF- China Cooperation Program in Health Education launched in 1989 being marked as the starting point (Li, 2009). Having developed for more than 20 years, now most research about health communication focuses on the improvement of the personal health situation and the protection of or cure for diseases. Currently, health communication is still in the process of being established (Chen & Liang, 2013) and is lacking effective, influential ‘communicators’, such as journalists or researchers that address the general public. Until now, in China there are few health communication majors in universities and research on health communication in China is less developed in comparison to the USA and European countries (Guo, Meng, Liu, & Wang, 2013). Interdisciplinary and international collaboration has a lot to contribute to identity-building of China’s health communication research down the road (Tai, Zhang, Wang, & Lin, 2013).

The proposed research aims to contribute to enhancing knowledge about health communication targeted at Chinese minorities. The empirical research is concerned with Hui minority in China. Firstly, Hui minority has the third biggest population among minorities. Hui minority is the most widely distributed minority in China, and the character is ‘big distribution, small concentration’ (Ai, Chen, & Li, 2015; Zhang, 2012; Jia, 2010; Wu, 2007). Their societal position is different from majority people. Secondly, Hui minority people believe in Islam, so they have a different eating habit from the majority of Chinese. Thirdly, they have specific health situation, for example, they have highest prevalence of hypertension in China (Wu et al, 2016). Lastly, the author happens to belong to the Hui minority, and consequently is well informed about this group’s culture and habits, which will do good to the research. This is why this research will focus on Hui minority group.

Previous research’s data have shown that Hui minority people have a high prevalence of traditional cardiovascular risk factors (CVRFs). The prevalence of hypertension was highest among Hui minority group, in addition, the prevalence of other CVRFs is also higher compared to other groups (Wu et al, 2016). Thus corresponding public health programs are required to enhance the situation among minority groups (Wu et al, 2016). That is why this research will focus on health information related to Cardio-Vascular Diseases.

In this research, the author will study how Hui minority people access, evaluate and use health information from different channels in particular with respect to Cardio-Vascular Diseases. The author will do this empirical research by using questionnaires, focus group and expert interviews. In all, these are the three parts in this research. The core of this research is health communication. Because there are existing obstacles for Hui minority people to receive effective health information as a result of different customs and living habits, it is pressing to study health education and health promotion among them (Su, 2011). 

Research team

Portrait Lei Yang

Lei Yang, MA

PhD Candidate

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Prof. dr. Jeroen Jansz

Promotor

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