Rachel Young

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Rachel Young
Associate Professor
W333 AJB
PhD 2013, University of Missouri

What is Rachel’s story? 

Rachel’s research investigates the role of social media and other user-generated digital content in health and wellness. Overall, the goal behind her research is to apply mass communication theory to improve health outcomes.

Prior to joining the UI Faculty, Rachel had more than a decade of professional experience as a health and science writer/editor for a variety of publications and organizations, including the American Medical Association and Cricket Magazine Group. Most recently, she designed a public relations campaign promoting consideration of health outcomes in local policy decisions                                 

Current projects include a series of studies on promoting bystander intervention in online aggression and cyberbullying and an investigation of how public health organizations use social media during disease outbreaks. Rachel also serves as academic advisor for the University of Iowa chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America. 


  • JMC:3615 Strategic Communication Campaigns
  • JMC:6310 Quantitative Research Methods for Media


  • Young, R., Hinnant, A., & Leshner, G. (In press). Individual and social determinants of obesity in strategic health messages: Interaction with political ideology. Health Communication.
  • Young, R. (In press). Source similarity and social media health messages: Extending construal level theory to message sources. Cyberpsychology, Social Networking, and Behavior.
  • Young, R., Willis, E., Stemmle, J., & Rodgers, S. (2015). Localized health news stories and publication in community newspapers. Health Promotion and Practice.
  • Young, R., Willis, E., Cameron, G., & Geana, M. (2014). “Willing but unwilling”: Barriers to adopting home-based health information technology among older adults. Health Informatics Journal, 20, 127-135.
  • Maksl, A. & Young, R. (2013). Affording to exchange: Social capital and online information sharing. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 16(8): 588-592.
  • Hinnant, A., Len-Rios, M., & Young, R. (2013). Journalistic use of exemplars to humanize health news. Journalism Studies, 14(4), 539-554.
  • Young, R., Alhabash, S., Rodgers, S., & Stemmle, J. (2011). Building the health news agenda in local newspapers. International Journal of Healthcare Management, 4(3), 148-159.




  • 2015 Top Faculty Papers, fourth place winner, Communication Science, Health, Environment and Risk Division, Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication.
  • 2014 Article of the Year competition, second place winner, Communicating Science, Health, Environment and Risk Division, Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication.
  • 2013 University of Missouri School of Journalism Dissertation Award, given by the faculty to the best dissertation of the academic year