Program Area Director,Public Health Department, University of Chicago
Dr. Amelia Burke-Garcia is a program area director in the Public Health Department at NORC at the University of Chicago. Dr. Burke-Garcia is a seasoned health communications professional with nearly 20 years of experience in health communication program planning, implementation and evaluation, with specific expertise in developing and evaluating digital health communications campaigns and intervention studies. Currently, Dr. Burke-Garcia is leading How Right Now, which is a communication initiative aimed at increasing people’s ability to cope and be resilient amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. In this role, she oversees a portfolio of work that includes rapid formative research, e.g., partner listening sessions, focus groups, a survey, an environmental scan, and social listening, to inform the development of a set of new messages and materials tailored to the needs of four priority audiences: people ages 65+ and their caregivers, people living with pre-existing mental and physical health conditions, people experiencing violence, and people experiencing economic distress. Over the course of her career, Dr. Burke-Garcia has spearheaded some of the most innovative communication programs and studies on a variety of health topics. Examples include investigating perspectives and motivations of non-vaccinating online influencers, designing a targeted social media intervention with mommy bloggers to help social media users lower their risk for breast cancer, and leveraging MeetUp groups and the Waze mobile application to move people to action around flu vaccination and HIV testing, respectively. Her new book entitled, Influencing Health: A Comprehensive Guide to Working with Online Influencers, was released in August 2019 by Routledge Press. She is active in the Society for Health Communication where she holds two co-chair positions on innovation in research and digital media. She is also a member of the American College of Preventative Medicine’s social media committee, the editorial board of Social Marketing Quarterly, the board of ShiftCon, a health and wellness online influencer network, and the scientific committee for BigSurv20, the leading conference on big data and survey science. She has been named to VeryWellHealth.com’s list of 10 Modern Female Innovators Shaking Up Health Care and was recently named as Diverse Health Hub’s Woman of the Week. She holds a PhD in Communication from George Mason University, a Master’s degree in Communication, Culture, and Technology from Georgetown University, and a joint honours Bachelor’s degree in International Development Studies and Humanistic Studies from McGill University.