Center for Health and Risk Communication (CHRC)

Director: Gary L. Kreps, PhD

Key Interests

Health Care | Information Technologies | Risk Prevention | Health and Crisis Situations | Health Literacy | Media | Community Interventions | Government | Health Promotion

Research Focus

The Center for Health and Risk Communication provides an important organizational framework for stimulating innovative research collaborations, health promotion intervention projects, and community interventions. The mission of the Center is to improve health communication as well as risk communication. Health communication encompasses how individuals deliver health care and promote health. Risk communication examines the strategy of communicating serious health and safety risks to relevant publics, government officials, and first-responders. CHRC fosters connections between George Mason researchers and government agencies, private foundations, and national as well as international research centers.

In addition to hosting conferences and workshops, CHRC performs cutting edge research on societally relevant topics.

■ Developing, testing, and implementing culturally sensitive health care provider training programs to enhance communication with vulnerable consumers despite low health literacy levels and limited English language proficiency

■ Guiding planning and evaluation for community health promotion programs, campaigns, and policies (e.g., the Partnership for a Healthier Fairfax community-based collaborative)

■ Conducting audience analysis and usability research to guide government agencies’ and health care systems’ strategic communication campaigns, communication programs, and digital technologies for public health education

■ Collaborating with the National Cancer Institute to expand the US-based Health Information National Trends Survey (HINTS) research program internationally. New sites have been established in China, Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and Israel, with developing sites in Peru, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Greece, Poland, Bulgaria, Romania, Slovenia, Armenia, and Kenya

■ Providing health advocacy training and development programs with the Global Advocacy Leadership Academy (GALA) and promoting collaborations between leaders of health advocacy groups and organizations in different regions of the world

■ Developing and testing new digital health information technologies, such as evolving mobile self-health management, surveillance, and health information dissemination tools

Facilities and Equipment

■ Behavioral Research Laboratory 

Select Publications

■ G. L. Kreps et al., The Use of Digital Communication Channels to Enhance Environmental Health Literacy. Environ. Health Lit., 265–283 (2019).

■ G. L. Kreps, Promoting patient comprehension of relevant health information. Israel Journal of Health Policy Research 7, 56 (2018).

■ A. Burke-Garcia et al., Perceptions about disseminating health information amongst mommy bloggers. Journal of Medical Internet Research- Research Protocols 7(4), e116 (2018).

■ G. L. Kreps, Online information and communication systems to enhance health outcomes through communication convergence. Human Communication Research 43(4), 518-530 (2017).