Health Communication - Abby Prestin Dissertation of the Year Award Fund

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Health Communication - Abby Prestin Dissertation of the Year Award Fund

The Abby Prestin Health Communication Dissertation of the Year Award is given jointly each year by the Health Communication Divisions of the International Communication Association and the National Communication Association. Recipients are selected through blind review by a panel of elected officers of the two Associations to recognize excellence in student scholarship at the Doctoral Degree level. Nominees may submit work on any aspect of health communication, representing any methodological approach or theoretical perspective.

This award is given in honor of the late Abby Prestin, an exemplary health communication scholar and person, who tragically passed away on September 3, 2014 at the age of 34 after a year-long battle with lymphoma. She earned her MA and PhD from the University of California at Santa Barbara, where her work in health communication was inspired by her mother's untimely passing from colon cancer. Her MA thesis (Examining subcomponents of efficacy judgments as factors in health promotion message design; Robin Nabi, Advisor) won the 2009 ICA/NCA Health Communication Thesis of the Year Award. Her dissertation (Exploring the therapeutic effects of entertainment media: Toward the "prescription" of media-based positive psychology interventions; Robin Nabi, advisor) won the 2013 ICA Kyoon Hur Dissertation Award. After earning her doctoral degree, she joined the National Cancer Institute as a post-doctoral fellow, where she was a prolific scientist in the areas of social media, cancer communication, and obesity prevention. From 2013 until her death, she served as a social scientist at the Center for Tobacco Products at the Food and Drug Administration.

In all of her roles, Abby touched many lives with her good humor, kindness, generosity, and determination. She further demonstrated tremendous courage and grace throughout her illness, doing her best to protect those she loved from her suffering. Her last request to her Facebook friends just a few days before she passed was for them to perform Random Acts of Kindness. In her words: "Just do something sweet or kind for a stranger or loved one and post about it...I would really love that."

Her many friends and family seek to endow the ICA/NCA Health Communication Dissertation Award to honor her memory and inspire future generations of health communication scholars to embody the same passion for and commitment to health communication that Abby demonstrated in her life.