Katharine J.																 Head

Katharine J. Head

Associate Professor of Communication Studies
Director, PhD Graduate Program in Health Communication
Affiliate Faculty, Fairbanks Center for Medical Ethics - IU Health
Adjunct Faculty, Medical Humanities and Health Studies Program
Department: Communication Studies
Cavanaugh Hall (CA) 307C



  • PhD, University of Kentucky 2013
  • MA, Texas A&M University 2008
  • BA, Texas A&M University 2006



Head, K.J., Kasting, M.L., Sturm, L.A., Hartsock, J.A., & Zimet, G.D. (2020). A national survey assessing SARS-CoV-2 vaccination intentions: Implications for future public health communication efforts. Science Communication (Special Issue focused on Communicating Risk and Uncertainty in the Face of COVID-19), 42(5), 698-723.

Panozzo, C.A., Head, K.J., Kornides, M.L., Feemster, K.A., & Zimet, G.D. (2020). Tailored messages addressing human papillomavirus vaccination concerns improves behavioral intent among mothers: A randomized controlled trial. Journal of Adolescent Health, 67(2), 253-261.

Head, K.J., Johnson, N.L., Scott, S.F., & Zimet, G.D. (2020). Communicating cervical cancer screening results in light of new guidelines: Clinical practices at federally qualified health centers. Health Communication, 35(7), 815-821.

Kasting, M. L., Head, K. J., Cox, D., Cox, A. D., & Zimet, G. D. (2019). The effects of message framing and healthcare provider recommendation on adult hepatitis B vaccination: A randomized controlled trial. Preventive Medicine, 127, 105798.

Head, K.J., & Iannarino, N.T. (2019). “It changed our outlook on how we want to live”: Cancer as a transformative health experience for young adult survivors and their family members. Qualitative Health Research, 29, 404–417.

Head, K.J., Biederman, E., Sturm, L.A., & Zimet, G.D. (2018). A retrospective and prospective look at strategies to increase adolescent HPV vaccine uptake in the United States. Human Vaccines & Immunotherapeutics, 14(7), 1626-1635.

Head, K.J. & Bute, J.J. (2018). The influence of everyday interpersonal communication on the medical encounter: An extension of Street’s ecological model. Health communication, 33(6), 786-792.

Head, K.J., Imburgia, T.M., Zimet, G.D., & Shew, M.L. (2017). Women’s understanding of their Pap and HPV test results: Implications for patient–provider communication. Journal of Communication in Healthcare, 10, 37-46.




  • Outstanding Academic Advisor of AY 2019-2020, IUPUI Liberal Arts Student Council (LASC), 2020
  • Outstanding Professor across the Campus, honored by IUPUI Athletics, 2015 and 2016


  • Cancer Control Champion Award, Indiana Cancer Consortium, 2021
  • Early Career Award, American Public Health Association Public Health Education and Health Promotion Division, 2020
  • Distinguished Article Award, National Communication Association Health Communication Division, 2020
  • Top Paper Award, International Communication Association Health Communication Division, 2020
  • Early Career Award, National Communication Association Health Communication Division, 2019
  • Innovative High Flyer Award for “Commitment to Improving the Health of Hoosiers, Indiana Immunization Coalition, 2019

Academic Interests

Academic Interests

Health communication, vaccination, cancer screening, social and behavioral science, young adults, women’s health, health campaigns, message design, e-Health




  • School of Liberal Arts Graduate Curriculum Committee, 2015-2021
  • Co-Chair, School of Liberal Arts Taylor Symposium 2019 Planning Committee (Hosted by Department of Communication Studies)
  • Faculty Mentor, IU School of Medicine Scholarly Concentration in Medical Humanities, 2019-Present


  • Expert Member, Promoting COVID Vaccine Acceptance in Our Communities Advisory Group, Indiana Chapter of the American Red Cross, 2020-Present
  • Chair, Advisory Committee, Indiana Immunization Coalition, 2019-Present


  • Steering Committee Member, APHA Health Communication Working Group, 2015- present
  • External Advisory Board Member, Kentucky Conference on Health Communication, 2015-present