Elisia L. Cohen earned her Ph.D. in Communication from the University of Southern California Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. Prior to joining the University of Minnesota as Director and tenured Professor in the Hubbard School of Journalism and Mass Communication she served as the Gifford Blyton Endowed Professor and chaired the University of Kentucky Department of Communication and led its Health Communication Research Collaborative.

Dr. Cohen began her career at Saint Louis University, rising through the ranks as she developed innovative media and community-based outreach strategies to improve cancer prevention and detection behaviors in underserved communities. At the University of Minnesota, she partners with medical and behavioral scientists at the Masonic Cancer Center and Center for Translational Science Institute to enhance quality of personally-relevant and culturally targeted communication strategies to improve cancer and related health outcomes.

At the University of Kentucky, she was awarded the campus Sarah Bennett Homes Award in recognition of her leadership, research, and service. She also was recognized with the American Public Health Association’s 2016 Mayhew Derryberry Award, and the 2018 Dale E. Brashers Distinguished Mentor Award from the Health Communication Division of the National Communication Association while a faculty member at Minnesota.

Her research has been supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institutes of Health, and private industry. Her research on media reporting and public understanding of disease has appeared in journals such as: Health Communication, Health Education and Behavior, Journal of Applied Communication Research, Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media, Journal of Communication, Journal of Communication in Healthcare, Journal of Health Communication, Qualitative Health Research, and Prometheus. She has edited four volumes of Communication Yearbook.

She is currently the treasurer of the International Communication Association, board member of the Minnesota Newspaper Association Foundation, and past president of the board for National Scholastic Press Association/Associated Collegiate Press.

Educational Background & Specialties
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Educational Background

  • Ph.D.: Communication, University of Southern California, Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism, 2003
  • M.A.: Communication, Wake Forest University, 1999
  • B.A.: Political Science, University of Louisville, 1997


  • health communication
  • multileveled community communication interventions
  • communication strategies to reduce health and cancer disparities
  • community-engaged research