This R13 application requests support for the Kentucky Conference on Health Communication (KCHC)- District of Columbia Health Communication (DCHC) conference series, which currently is planning its 13th meeting to be held April 19-21, 2012. The overall goal of the annual KCHC-DCHC conference series is to promote health communication research and practice in order to advance our understanding of behavioral and communication science;such advanced understanding will, through translational research, subsequently enhance the effectiveness of interventions designed to promote health and prevent illness.
The specific aims of this R13 are to increase the impact of KCHC-DCHC through 1) expanding dissemination;2) increasing participation by early career researchers and graduate students;3) increasing participation from underrepresented groups;and 4) continuing emphasis on scholarly excellence. Across all four aims, our goal is to positively influence the field of health communication and increase its impact by enhancing dissemination of leading research and promoting the career development of early career scientists, particularly those from underrepresented groups. Our emphasis on health message design and dissemination is relevant to the mission of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) given our goal to apply our knowledge "to enhance health, lengthen life, and reduce the burdens of illness and disability" . This scientific focus is consistent with the aims of the U.S. government, which has recognized the importance of communication in promoting the health and well-being of our nation in its Healthy People publications. The timeliness of our conference series is especially reflected by the theme the of 2012 conference, Health Literacy Research and Practice, a theme that addresses the number one Healthy People 2020  health communication objective: health literacy. Our three- day international, interdisciplinary conference encompasses several disciplines representing communication, social, behavioral, and health sciences. Topics addressed at the conference include interventions designed for health risk behavior reduction in areas such as cancer, diabetes, substance abuse, and HIV/AIDS;community, media, and technology-related issues;and methodological issues in behavioral/social science research. Such health communication-focused inquiry is now recognized as instrumental in promoting public health . Past conference attendance has averaged approximately 200 participants. The audience primarily includes graduate, postdoctoral, and academic faculty researchers;we emphasize participation by graduate students and early career scientists. This audience composition allows the conference series to support one of NIH's goals: "to develop, maintain, and renew scientific human...resources that will ensure the Nation's capability to prevent disease" .
The Kentucky Conference on Health Communication (KCHC)-District of Columbia Health Communication (DCHC) conference series will advance health communication research and practice in order to reduce the burden of pressing public health problems such as cancer, diabetes, substance abuse, and HIV/AIDS. The conference will promote career development in the social and behavioral sciences through support of early career researchers and graduate students, increasing the number of professionals with expertise in health communication.