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Jennifer Ohs, Ph.D.

Associate Professor; Graduate Program Coordinator
Department of Communication

Courses Taught

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


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

Research Interests

Ohs's area of research specialization lies at the intersection of interpersonal and health communication, with a focus on aging and intergenerational communication. Her research program breaks into three interrelated subareas. First, a primary line of her research has focused on decision making in the contexts of medical decisions in older adulthood and end-of-life care decisions in families. Second, she is committed to interdisciplinary work examining personal health information management at different points in the adult lifespan. Finally, her work has advanced understanding of the role of communication in ageism across a variety of social contexts to promote healthy intergenerational communication.

Publications and Media Placements

Ju, I., Ohs, J.E., Park, T., & Hinsley, A. (in press). Harnessing an Integrated Health Communication (IHC) Framework for Campaigns: A Case of Prescription Drug Decision Making. Health Communication.

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