Rachel Young, Ph.D.

Associate Professor
Director of Undergraduate Studies

Drop-in Hours

Fall 2023: Tuesday: 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm (in person), Wednesday: 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm (via Zoom), Thursday: 10:30 am - 11:30 am (in person) or by appointment 

What is Rachel’s story? 

Rachel is an associate professor and director of undergraduate studies in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, University of Iowa. Her mixed-methods research explores the complex effects of media on health. She uses textual analysis, interviews, content analysis, and experiments to understand media representations of health and their effect on audiences. She has also explored how adolescents and parents manage digital media use to protect against health risks and encourage benefits.

Current research projects include a national survey of and interviews with health journalists to explore how roles and practices reflect major changes to the news media landscape and growing awareness of health stigma and disparities. A series of experiments explores the unintended effects of health messaging on stigma toward people who use drugs and other groups. Rachel is also trained as a facilitator for digital storytelling, an approach to creating meaningful personal videos that she has used in her health research with community groups.

Rachel has also won college, university, and national teaching awards for her work in the classroom, where she applies inclusive strategies for discussion, assignments, and assessment to support learning for all students. Her strategic communication courses connect professional skills to real-world issues through community engagement. To that end, Young launched the Coralville Media Collaborative (CMC) to pair community organizations with SJMC students who create communication plans and multimedia stories focused on local needs and solutions.

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.

  • JMC:1100 Introduction to Media Effects
  • JMC:2500 Community Media
  • JMC:3150 Media and Health
  • JMC:4315 Advanced Strategic Communication 
  • JMC:6300 Social Scientific Approaches to Media Comm
  • Young, R., & Tully, M. (2023). Roadblocks and resistance: digital media as a process of calibration among U.S. parents of adolescents. Journal of Children and Media.
  • Young, R., Chen, L., Zhu, G., & Subramanian, R. (2021). Cautionary tales: social representation of risk in U.S. newspaper coverage of cyberbullying exemplars. Journalism Studies, 22(13), 1832-1852.
  • Young, R., Kananovich, K., & Johnson, B.G. (2021). Young adults’ folk theories of how social media harms its users. Mass Communication & Society, 26(1), 23-46.
  • Young, R., Miles, S. & Alhabash, S. (2018). Attacks by anons: An analysis of cyberbullying posts and responses on a social media site. Social Media + Society, 4(1). doi: 2056305118762444.
  • Young, R., Tully, M., & Dalrymple, K. (2018). #Engagement: use of Twitter chats to construct nominal participatory spaces during health crises. Information, Communication, & Society, 21(4), 499-515.
  • Young, R., Subramanian, R., Miles, S. Hinnant, A., & Andsager, J. (2017). Social representation of cyberbullying and adolescent suicide: a mixed-method analysis of news stories. Health Communication, 31(7), 903-910.
  • Young, R., Hinnant, A., & Leshner, G. (2016). Individual and social determinants of obesity in strategic health messages: Interaction with political ideology. Health Communication, 31(7), 903-910.

Complete list of publications.

  • 2023, Scripps Howard Awards Teacher of the Year
  • 2023, Hubbard-Walder Award for Excellence in Teaching, University of Iowa
  • 2022, Top Paper Award, Health Communication Division, National Communication Association
  • 2019, Collegiate Teaching Award, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, University of Iowa
  • 2015, Faculty Service Award, Iowa Initiative for Sustainable Communities
Rachel Young
Ph.D., University of Missouri, 2013

W333 Adler Journalism Building (AJB)
Iowa City, IA 52242
United States