Dr. Alexis Koskan: Using Health Communication to Promote Cancer Prevention and Control in Medically Underserved Populations
Dr. Alexis Koskan’s well-rounded background in health communication and public health made her a very sought-after candidate for her current position as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Moffitt Cancer Center’s Behavioral Oncology Training Program in Tampa, Florida.
Koskan completed the Certificate of Graduate Study in Health Communication and a Ph.D in Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior from University of South Carolina in August 2011. She has also collected degrees from the University of Southern Mississippi, where she obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Speech Communication and from Texas A & M University, where she received a Master of Arts in Speech Communication with an emphasis in Health Communication.
Koskan said she decided to add USC’s Certificate of Graduate Study in Health Communication to her repertoire because it was different from the courses offered at Texas A & M, which primarily focused on interpersonal and organizational health communication.
“I was attracted to the Certificate of Graduate Study in Health Communication because it blended library science, journalism and mass communication and public health,” said Koskan.
At the Moffitt Cancer Center, Koskan works on community engagement projects, using culturally targeted media, such as photo novellas, to promote cancer prevention and control in medically underserved populations. She also leads the digital media research initiatives, which includes the development of a community survey aimed at accessing community members’ preferences for using digital media to receive and send health messages.
This multi-talented health communicator believes that the Certificate of Graduate Study in Health Communication helped her to get ahead in her field.
“It helped me land my current position,” Koskan said. “My current advisor was searching for a postdoctoral trainee with interests in health communication.”
One of the health communication courses that best prepared Koskan for her position was Dr. Daniela Friedman’s Applied Health Communications course.
“The final project, which involved collaborating on a team to plan a mass media health communication campaign, was a great learning experience and helped me better understand how to plan and evaluate this type of campaign,” she said.
Koskan’s health communication knowledge and skills, coupled with her research expertise, have proved to be particularly valuable. While at the Moffitt Cancer Center, Koskan has disseminated her health communication-oriented work through conference presentations and peer-reviewed, academic journals. She also collaborates with other researchers and community-based organizations to help plan, implement and evaluate cancer prevention and control programs.
“At times, communication and public health scholars vary in their perceptions of what health communication research is and the outcomes of interest in health communication research studies,” said Koskan. “Combining the perspectives of library science, journalism and mass communication and public health scholars provide a very well-rounded understanding of health communication.”