Skip to main content
MenuSearch & Directory

Jennifer Ohs, Ph.D.

Associate Professor; Graduate Program Coordinator
Department of Communication

Courses Taught

Communication Research (undergraduate and graduate); First Year Dialogue; Health Communication (undergraduate and graduate); Interpersonal Communication; Organizational Communication; Public Speaking; Quantitative Research Methods for Communication (graduate); Senior Capstone; Social Networks (graduate)


Ph.D., Communication Arts and Sciences, Pennsylvania State University
M.A., Speech Communication, University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana

Research Interests

Ohs’ research specialization lies at the intersection of health and interpersonal communication with an emphasis on decisions in health contexts, particularly at the latter end of the lifespan. Her research has examined how older adults make health care decisions; Baby Boomers’ use of technology in making decisions about and managing their health care; the influence of peer networks and technology use on patient engagement; how families make decisions about end-of-life care; how personal experiences of loss influence physicians’ end-of-life care planning with patients; the impact of health beliefs and access to health information sources on prescription medicine decisions; the effect of risk information prominence on different aged consumers’ decisions to engage with prescription drug advertising; how individuals assessed health information during the COVID-19 pandemic and decisions to enact health protective behaviors; how COVID-19 vaccine skeptics assess credibility of social media messages and the impact of those assessments on decisions to vaccinate; and decisions to enter oncology clinical trials. As a scholar, she is committed to advancing the understanding of communication involved in health-related decisions in order to improve communication about them and ultimately enhance those decisions. 

Publications and Media Placements

Ju, I., Ohs, J., Park, T., & Hinsley, A. (2022). Examining the Theory of Motivated Information  Management (TMIM) in the COVID-19 pandemic. Journal of Health Communication, 1–17. 

Hinsley A., Ju I., Park T., & Ohs J. (2022). Credibility in the time of COVID-19: Cues that audiences look for when assessing information on social media and building confidence in identifying ‘fake news’ about the virus. Open Information Science6(1), 61–73. 

Ju, I., Ohs, J., Park, T., & Hinsley, A. (2021). Harnessing an Integrated Health Communication (IHC) framework for campaigns: A case of prescription drug decision making. Health Communication, 1–12. 

Wallace, C. L., Trees, A., Ohs, J., & Hinyard, L. (2021). Narrative Medicine for Healthcare Providers: Improving Practices of Advance Care Planning. Omega, 302228211015596. 

Ju, I., Ohs, J., Park, T., & Hinsley, A. (2021). Interpersonal Communication Influence on Health- Protective Behaviors Amid the COVID-19 Crisis.  Health Communication.  DOI: 10.1080/10410236.2021.1956038 

Ju, I., Park, T., & Ohs, J. E. (2020). Consumer engagement with prescription medicine decisions: Influences of health beliefs and health communication sources. Health Communication, 35(2), 135–147. 

Yamasaki, J., & Ohs, J.E. (2020). Aging in a computer mediated community: The importance of online connections for older adults. In K. Wright & N. Egbert (Eds.), Social Support and Health in the Digital Divide. (pp. 207 -228). London, UK: Lexington Books.

Park, T., Ju, I., Ohs, J.E., & Hinsley, A. (2020). Optimistic  bias and preventive behavioral engagement in the context of COVID-19. Research in Social and Administrative Pharmacy.

Ju, I., Ohs, J.E., & Jin Seong Park. (2019). Consumer's regulatory knowledge of prescription drug advertising and health risk awareness: The moderating role of risk information prominence. Health Communication.

Ohs, J.E. (2019). Healthy mother, healthy baby: An authoethnography to challenge the dominant cultural narrative of the birthing patient. In P.M. Kellett (Ed.), Narrating patienthood: Engaging diverse voices on health, communication, and the patient experience. (pp. 227-257) Lexington Press.

Seale, D. E., LeRouge, C.M., Ohs, J.E., Tao, D., Lach, H., Jupka, K., & Wray, R. (2019) Exploring baby boomers' approach to managing their health and healthcare. International Journal of E-Health and Medical Communications, 10(1) 94-117. DOI:

Ju, I., Park, T., & Ohs, J.E. (2018). Consumer engagement with prescription medicine decisions: Influences of health beliefs and health information sources. Health Communication. 1-11. DOI:

Wallace, C. Khoo, Y.M., & Hinyard, L., Ohs, J.E. Cruz-Oliver, D.M. (2018). The impact of personal and professional loss on advance care planning and effective care delivery for healthcare social workers. Families in Society: The Journal of Contemporary Social Services, 1-11.  DOI:10.1177/1044389418803450

Wallace, C., Cruz Oliver, D., Ohs, J. E., & Hinyard, L. (2018). Connecting personal experiences of loss and professional practices in advance care planning and end-of-life care: A survey of providers. American Journal of Hospice and Palliative Medicine, 35(11), 1369-1376. DOI: 10.1177/1049909118783736

Ohs, J.E., Trees, A.R., & Kurian, N. (2017). Problematic integration and family communication about decisions at the end of life. The Journal of Family Communication.

Trees, A.R., Ohs, J.E., & Murray, M.C. (2017). Family communication about end-of-life decisions and the enactment of the decision-maker role. Behavioral Sciences. 7(2), 36-48, doi:10.3390/bs7020036

Ohs, J.E., & Yamasaki, J. (2017). Communication and successful aging: Challenging the dominant cultural narrative of decline. Communication Research Trends, 36(1), 4-41.

Trees, A.R. & Ohs, J.E. (2017). Making sense of family communication about and at the end-of-life: Family communication around end-of-life planning and decision making. Journal of Health Law and Policy, 10(1), 19-44.

Ohs, J.E. (2015). Medical decisions in older age: Managing complexities, uncertainties, and social relationships. In M. Brann (Ed.), Contemporary case studies in health communication: Theoretical & applied approaches, 2nd Ed. (pp.129-145). Dubuque, IA: Kendall Hunt.

LeRouge, C.M., Tao, D., Ohs, J., Lach, H.W., Jupka, K., & Wray, R. (2014). Challenges and opportunities with empowering Baby Boomers for personal health information management using consumer health information technologies: An ecological perspective. AIMS Public Health, 1(3), 160-181. DOI: 10.3934/publichealth.2014.3.160

Ohs, J.E. (2013). Reaching acceptance: Problematic integration in health-care decisions at the latter end of the lifespan. Qualitative Communication Research, 2(4), 381-410.

Honors and Awards

2017 Chauncey E. Finch Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Mentoring

Professional Organizations and Associations

National Communication Association

Community Work and Service

  • Diversity Educational Collaborative
  • Pre-Professional Health Committee on Evaluations