Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

Institute for Public Health and Medicine

Center for Communication and Health

The mission of the Center for Communication and Health is to improve the quality and safety of healthcare as patients experience it, to improve the health of populations, and to reduce the cost of care by applying the interdisciplinary tools of the communication arts and sciences. The center is housed within Northwestern University School of Communication and is a valuable IPHAM member center for their innovations in health communication that have applications in patient and public education, community engagement, health policy, and more.

The Importance of Communication to Healthcare and Health

Healthcare is a complex industry and the opportunities for miscommunication or disconnect are many. Communication plays a vital role in so many health-related interactions, including:

The Center for Communication and Health is led by Bruce Lambert, PhD, an internationally known communication scientist and an expert in health communication, who believes that effective communication design can improve these and other interactions and make for a safer and more cost-efficient care landscape.


Central to the center’s work is the Master of Science in Health Communication program. This one-year program is for anyone who wishes to master effective communication design as it applies to healthcare, including practitioners; professionals in healthcare-related marketing, communications, or consulting; patient advocates; user experience designers; and community, government, or non-profit-based communications specialists; and policy makers.


The center is home for interdisciplinary collaborations between affiliated faculty from the School of Communication, the McCormick School of Engineering, and IPHAM, as well as collaborations with researchers from outside Northwestern. The center’s research is anchored in Dr. Lambert’s Center for Education and Research in Therapeutics (CERT), including research on pharmacoepidemiology, training medical residents on the safe dosing of opioids, developing methods to predict and prevent drug name confusion errors, and developing strategies to deliver medication information in a way that overcomes barriers created by low health literacy and limited English language skills.

Additional Information

Learn more about the Center for Communication and Health’s master’s program, research, faculty, and more, please see the center’s section of the Northwestern University School of Communication site.

Center Information

Center for Communication and Health
Northwestern University
710 N. Lake Shore Drive, 15th Floor
Chicago, IL 60611

Center Director

bruce Lambert

Bruce Lambert, PhD

Associate Director, Education

Jennifer Backoff

Associate Director, Administration

Rosa Ortiz