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Description of Division Awards

The 2019 ICA/NCA Amanda L. Kundrat Thesis of the Year and Abby Prestin Dissertation Awards


ICA and NCA are pleased to release a call for outstanding masters theses and doctoral dissertations in the area of health communication. A cash award is given in the amount of $500 each for the top dissertation and top thesis.

Each year, a committee composed of leaders from the Health Communication Divisions of the ICA and NCA reviews Masters Theses and Doctoral Dissertations submitted for consideration. Authors of the top-rated thesis and top-rated dissertation (and their faculty advisors) are recognized at the Annual Divisional Business Meeting during ICA’s conference with the presentation of a plaque and cash award.


In 2010, the Thesis of the Year Award was renamed the Amanda L. Kundrat Health Communication Thesis of the Year thanks to an endowment created by the Kundrat family for that award. Amanda passed away on January 21st, 2003 while a doctoral candidate in the Department of Communication Arts and Sciences. Her passion for health communication was rooted in both her personal and academic understanding of the healthcare system. Amanda’s MA thesis previously won the Thesis of the Year Award.


The dissertation 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. Both her MA Thesis and PhD Dissertations won these awards and the Award is endowed by her family and friends.


For more information about these endowments and ways for you to contribute to this fund, please go to and look for the two funds alphabetized under the name “Health Communication”




To be considered for the 2019 awards, theses and dissertations must have been completed (defended) between 1 September 2017 and 31 December 2018. If the completion date was in the last four months of 2017, the thesis or dissertation cannot have been submitted for last year’s (2018) competition. Individuals may nominate themselves, but advisors must be notified of the nomination. Thesis and dissertation nominations will be evaluated by a panel of officers and members of the ICA and NCA Health Communication Divisions, with the ICA Chair serving as the award coordinator.


The nomination packet should include (a) a cover letter with the name, postal address, telephone number and email address of the nominee and his or her advisor(s) and completion date of the thesis or dissertation, and (b) a summary (excluding title page and references) of the thesis or dissertation not exceeding 5 pages (8 ½ x 11” page, Times New Roman 12 point font, double-spaced, one-inch margins on all sides, and in English; not counting title page and references). The 5-page summary should describe clearly and concisely the study’s rationale, theoretical framework, research questions, methods, results, and conclusions. Care should be taken to mask the identity of the author within the text of the summary. The summary should include a title page that contains only the title of the thesis or dissertation. Complete theses or dissertations or chapters of same will not be accepted for review. Reviewers will be instructed not to read beyond the first 5 pages of text.  PLEASE SUBMIT PACKET AS A MS WORD DOCUMENT—NOT AS A PDF.


On or before March 10th, a slate of up to 3 finalists for each award will be selected by the evaluation committee. Finalists will be invited to submit an extended integrated summary of the thesis or dissertation not exceeding 30 pages (double-spaced, one-inch margins on all sides, and in English). These summaries will be reviewed by the committee and the award winners will be selected from among the finalists.


Send an electronic copy of the nomination packet including cover letter and 5-page summary to:


Jeff Niederdeppe

Chair, ICA Health Communication Division

The deadline for receipt of the nomination packets is January 31, 2019.  Nomination packets received after that date will not be reviewed.

Annual Paper Awards

The Division recognizes two categories of student papers from those submitted to the ICA conference:

a. papers authored by a student alone (or co-authored by students only) and
b. papers with a student first author and faculty or other non-student co-author(s).

The lead author of the paper in each category that receives the highest ranking in the online paper review process is recognized at the Annual Divisional Business Meeting with the presentation of a plaque.


When you submit your papers to the online system, please be sure to identify the student status of the lead author so we will know who is eligible for these awards.


2018 Awards 

NCA/ICA 2018 Health Communication Dissertation and Thesis Awards


2018 Abby Prestin Dissertation of the Year Award

The Impacts of Recurring Supportive Interactions on Couples’ Psychological, Relational, and Health Outcomes in the Context of Rheumatic Diseases

 Kristen Farris, completed at UT Austin

2018 Amanda L. Kundrat Thesis of the Year Award

Development of a participatory health communication intervention: An ecological approach to reducing rural information inequality and health disparities

 Erendira Estrada, completed at UC Merced. 

Top Student-Only Paper
Wei Peng, Jazmyne Vanecia Simmons, & Qian Huang, U of Miami - What Frame Makes you Less Hesitant: The Interactive Effects of Message Balance and Gain or Loss Framing on Zika Vaccine Hesitancy.

Top Student-Led Paper

Chelsea Ratcliff & Ye Sun, U of Utah - How Do Narratives Reduce Resistance? Meta-Analyzing Potential Moderators.


2017 Awards 

NCA/ICA 2017 Health Communication Dissertation and Thesis Awards


Amanda Kundrat Annual Thesis of the Year Award

Consulting the Internet Before a Consultation. A Mixed Method Study Investigating the Effects of Searching the Internet Before a Consultation on Satisfaction with the Consultation, Recall of Information and Medication Adherence

Remco Sanders, Amsterdam School of Communication Research, University of Amsterdam

Dr. Annemiek Linn, University of Amsterdam (advisor)


Abby Prestin Dissertation of the Year

Designing Digital Health Information in a Health Literacy Context

Corine Meppelink, Amsterdam School of Communication Research, University of Amsterdam

Dr. Edith Smit & Dr. Julia van Weert, University of Amsterdam (advisors)


2017 Top Papers

Instilling Belief in the Ability to Change for the Better: Narrative Persuasion for Sleep Hygiene Self-Efficacy – Melissa Robinson & Silvia Knobloch-Westerwick, Ohio State U (Top Student-Led Paper)
Perceived Emotional and Informational Support for Cancer: Patients’ Perspectives about Interpersonal versus Media Sources – Camella Rising, George Mason U, Nadine Bol & Julia van Weert, U of Amsterdam
You brought it on yourself: The joint effects of message type, stigma, and responsibility attribution on attitudes toward medical cannabis – Nehama Lewis & Sharon Sznitman, U of Haifa
Ongoing Disclosure in Cancer Communication: The Role of Perceived Response
Maria Venetis, Purdue U, Kate Magsamen-Conrad, Bowling Green State U, Maria Checton & Kathryn Greene, Rutgers U

Top Student-Only Paper

Memorable Messages from Family Members about Mental Health and Young Adult Attitudes toward Clinical Help Seeking – Mackenzie Greenwell, U of Texas, Austin

Top Poster

Acculturation to both American and Chinese Cultures Predicts Condom Use Intent among US-Dwelling Chinese/Taiwanese MSM – Lik Sam Chan, Yao Sun, Yusi Xu, Margaret McLaughlin, U of Southern California

2016 Awards

NCA/ICA 2016 Health Communication Dissertation and Thesis Awards


Amanda Kundrat Annual Thesis of the Year Award

The Influences of Self-Efficacy in Medical Drama Programming on Cervical Cancer Preventive Behaviors: From the Perspective of Social Cognitive Theory

Sungsu Kim, University of Georgia

Dr. Jay Hmielowski, Washington State U (Advisor)


Abby Prestin Dissertation of the Year

Understanding Normative Influence of Neighborhoods: A Multilevel Approach to Promoting Latinas’ Cervical Cancer Prevention Behaviors in Urban Ethnic Communities

Nan Zhao, California State University, Los Angeles

Dr. Sheila Murphy, University of Southern California (Advisor)


2016 Top Papers

The interplay between verbal frames and images in influencing news readers’ perceptions of the social determinants of obesity – Jiawei Liu, Rachel Komfield, Yuhai Chen, & Chau Tong; University of Wisconsin-Madison


How cancer patients use and benefit from an integrated eHealth system – Jeong Yeob Han, U of Georgia; Robert P. Hawkins, Timothy Baker, Dhavan Shah, Suzanne Pingree, and David Gustafson U Wisconsin- Madison


Psychological Reactance as Defensive Response of a Threatened Self – Xuan Zhu, U. of Minnesota, Twin- Cities


The Effect of Cultural Tailoring on Persuasion in Cancer Communication: A Meta-Analysis – Yan Huang & Fuyuan Shen, Pennsylvania State University


2015 Awards

NCA/ICA 2015 Health Communication Dissertation and Thesis Awards


Amanda Kundrat Annual Thesis of the Year Award

Attributions and Coping Behaviors Communicated Among Bullied Students: An Analysis of Bullying Blogs.

Carly Danielson, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, USA

Tara Emmers-Sommer, University of Nevada Las Vegas, USA (Advisor)


Abby Prestin Dissertation of the Year Award

Let's talk about alcohol: The role of interpersonal communication and health campaigns.

Hanneke Hendriks, Leiden University, Netherlands

Bas van den Putte, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands (Advisor)


2015 Top Papers

Assessing the Effects of Human Trafficking Prevention Campaign and Its Determinants through a Multi- Level Model. Prawit Thainiyom (U of Southern California - Annenberg School for Communication), Patricia Riley (U of Southern California), Sheila Teresa Murphy (U of?Southern California), Mark Latonero (USC Annenberg)


Health Misinformation on Social Media: The Case of Vaccine Safety on Pinterest. Jeanine Patricia Drost Guidry (Virginia Commonwealth University), Marcus Messner (Virginia Commonwealth University)


Real-World Persuasion From Virtual-World Health Campaigns: Initial Tests Using Entertainment Videogames to Lower DUI Willingness. Christopher N Burrows (University of Connecticut), Hart Blanton (University of Connecticut)


The Paradoxical Role of Threat in Inoculation Against Reactance to Health Interventions. Adam S. Richards (Texas Christian University), John A. Banas (U of Oklahoma), Yoav Magid (University of Maryland)


Top Student-Led Paper

The Paradoxical Role of Threat in Inoculation Against Reactance to Health Interventions. Adam S. Richards (Texas Christian University), John A. Banas (U of Oklahoma), Yoav Magid (University of Maryland)


Top Posters

Using Virtual Exemplars in Health Campaigns to Promote Health Behavior Change: Reducing Soft Drink Consumption. Sun Joo (Grace) Ahn; University of Georgia


A Theoretical Investigation of Predictors of African-American, Caucasian, and Latinos Intentions to Register as Organ Donors?. Tobias Reynolds-Tylus; University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Brian Quick; U of Illinois- Urbana- Champaign


Test of the Activation of Approach and Avoidance Motivations in Response to Health Messages. Soyoon Kim; University of Miami; Marco Yzer; U of Minnesota 


2014 Awards 

NCA/ICA 2014 Health Communication Dissertation and Thesis Awards


Amanda Kundrat Annual Thesis of the Year Award

Communication networks of men with prostate cancer.

Dorothy Brown (Pagel)

Advisor: Prof. John Oetzel


Dissertation of the Year Award

Searching from the heart: The interplay between emotions and customization in online health information seeking.

Dr. Jessica Gall Myrick, Indiana University

Advisor: Dr. Sriram Kalyanaraman


Top Papers

Toward a Theory of Persuasive Hope: Hope Appeals and Hope, Appraisals, and Climate Change Prevention  Amy E Chadwick (Ohio University) (Top Paper in Health Communication)


Nonmedical Information Seeking Amid Conflicting Health Information: Negative and Positive Effects on Prostate Cancer Screening -  Laura Gibson, Andy Tan, Derek Freres, Nehama Lewis, Lourdes Martinez, and Robert Hornik


Dilemmas Families Face in Talking With Returning U.S. Military Service Members About Seeking Professional Help for Mental Health Issues – Steve Wilson, Patricia Gettings, Elizabeth Hall, Rebekah Pastor


Top Student Led Paper

The Effects of Regulatory Fit and Presentation Order of Health Messages in Countering Unhealthy Food Advertising's Influence on Attitudes and Intentions to Eat Healthily - Su Lin Yeo, Nanyang Technological University with May O Lwin and Ying-Yi Hong

2013 Awards 

NCA/ICA 2013 Health Communication Dissertation and Thesis Awards


Amanda L. Kundrat Health Communication Thesis of the Year

The Effect of Stereotype Threat on Cognitive Difficulties After Chemotherapy: Communicating the Association Between Chemotherapy and Cognitive Difficulties May Result in Higher Complaint Reporting, But Increased Memory Performance for Cancer Patients High in Stigma Consciousness

Wendy Jacobs, Radboud University Nijmegen

Advisors: Dr. Enny (H. H. J.) Das and Dr. S. B. Schagen    


Dissertation of the Year

Priming Optimism: The Automaticity of Health Risk Perceptions.

Sherine El-Toukhy, Ph.D., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Advisor: Jane D. Brown, Ph.D.


ICA Young Scholar Award

Jake Jensen, The University of Utah; Jake is a member of our division. 


Top Papers

Overcoming Consumer Suspicion of Advocacy Advertising: An Exploration of the Persuasive Effects of Self-Brand Connections. Christina Valerie Malik (University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill) and Sriram Kalyanaraman (University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill) (2013 ICA Health Communication Top Paper)


Fear and Death: A Meta-Analytic Review of Fear Appeals From a Terror Management Perspective. Nancy Rhodes (The Ohio State University), David M. Hunt (University of Wyoming), and Scott Radford (University of Calgary)


Stigma and Its Effect on Social Interaction and Social Media Activity. Vanessa Boudewyns (RTI International), Itai Himelboim (University of Georgia), Derek L. Hansen (Brigham Young University), and Brian G. Southwell (RTI International)


The Relationships Among Structurational Divergence, Communication, and Negative Outcomes in the Nursing Workplace Environment. Anne Nicotera (George Mason University) and Wonsun Kim (George Mason University)


Top Student Paper

An Experimental Study of Medical Error Explanations: Do Apology, Empathy, Corrective Action, and Compensation Alter Intentions and Attitudes? – Kristin Pace (Michigan State University) and Samantha Ann Nazione (Michigan State University)

2012 Awards 

NCA/ICA 2012 Health Communication Dissertation and Thesis Awards


Amanda L. Kundrat Health Communication Thesis of the Year
Third-Person Effect and Rectifying Behaviors: Studying Antisocial and Prosocial Online Messages of Youth Drug Abuse.
Wan Chi Leung (degree conferred by School of Journalism and Communication, The Chinese University of Hong Kong)
Advisor: Ven-Hwei Lo, The Chinese University of Hong Kong


Dissertation of the Year, Sponsored by Peter Lang Publishing
The Social Groups Approach to Quitting Smoking: An Examination of Smoking Cessation in Social Networking Sites Through the Influence of Social Norms, Social Identification, Social Capital, and Social Support.
Joe Phua, University of Georgia (degree conferred by Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, University of Southern California)
Advisor: Michael J. Cody, University of Southern California


Top Student-Led Paper
Deeper Processing Leads to a Liberal Shift in Support of Public Health Policy
Tae Kyoung Lee (Cornell University) with Michael Shapiro (Cornell University) and Jeff Niederdeppe (Cornell University)


Top Student Authored Paper
Social Support, Social Strain, Loneliness, and Well-Being: An Investigation Using the HRS National Sample
Cindy Yixin Chen (University of Buffalo)


2011 Award Winners 

NCA/ICA 2011 Health Communication Dissertation and Thesis Awards


Amanda L. Kundrat Health Communication Thesis of the Year
Influencing Children's Food Consumption: Impact of Message Framing and Tailoring on Efficacy and Intention
Mindawati Wijaya (degree conferred by Nanyang Technological University)
Co-Advisors: Theng Yin Leng, Nanyang Technological University and May O. Lwin, Nanyang Technological University


Dissertation of the Year, Sponsored by Peter Lang Publishing
The Role of Narrative and Other-Referencing in Attenuating Psychological Reactance to Diabetes Self-Care Messages
Elizabeth Gardner, Texas Tech University (degree conferred by University of Missouri)
Advisor: Glenn Leshner, University of Missouri


Top Student-Led Paper
Personality as a Predictor of Seeking Information About Genetic Testing
Adam S. Richards (University of Maryland) with Ryan S. Paquin (National Human Genome Research Institute), Laura M. Koehly (Social and Behavioral Research Branch, National Human Genome Research Institute, National Institute of Health), and Colleen M. McBride (Social and Behavioral Research Branch, National Human Genome Research Institute, National Institute of Health)


Top Student Authored Paper
Health and Marginalization: A Culture-Centered Construction from Rural Bangladesh
Raihan Jamil (Purdue University)

2010 Award Winne 

NCA/ICA 2010 Health Communication Dissertation and Thesis Awards


Amanda L. Kundrat Health Communication Thesis of the Year
The Conceptualization and Communication of Risk Among Rural Appalachian Adolescents
Jennifer J. Moreland (degree conferred by The Ohio State University)
Advisor: Janice Raup-Krieger, The Ohio State University


Dissertation of the Year, Sponsored by Peter Lang Publishing
Seeking Family Health Information: A Test of the Revised Theory of Motivated Information Management
Shelly R. Hovick, MD Anderson Cancer Center (degree conferred by University of Georgia)
Advisor: Vicki Freimuth, University of Georgia


Top Student-Led Paper
Narrative Health Communication and Behavior Change: The Influence of Exemplars in the News on Intention to Quit Smoking
Hyun Suk Kim (University of Pennsylvania) with Cabral A. Bigman (University of Pennsylania), Amy Leader (Thomas Jefferson University), Caryn Lerman (University of Pennsylvania), and Joseph N. Cappella (University of Pennsylvania)


Top Student Authored Paper
Learning from Field Research: Why Emphasizing Only the C in ABC May Not Be an Effective Strategy for the Developing World
by Nupur Tustin (University of Southern California)


2009 Award Winners 

NCA/ICA 2009 Health Communication Dissertation and Thesis Awards


Top Thesis
Examining Subcomponents of Efficacy Judgments as Factors in Health Promotion Message Design
by Abigail Prestin, University of California at Santa-Barbara
Advisor: Robin Nabi, University of California at Santa-Barbara


Top Dissertation
Changing Health Behaviors: The Roles of Intra- and Inter-Personal Responses to Public Health Mass Media Campaigns

by Sally Dunlop, University of Pennsylvania (Degree conferred by University of Melbourne)
Co-Advisors: Melanie Wakefield, Cancer Council Victoria and Yoshihisa Kashima, University of Melbourne


Top Student-Led Paper
Evaluating a Bone Marrow Storyline on The Bold and The Beautiful: The Impact of Identification, Transportation, and Motivation on Knowledge and Action
by Lauren Movius (University of Southern California)


Top Student Authored Paper
An Examination of Obesity Stigma and Identity Through Online Discourse
by Mary Beth Asbury (University of Kansas)

2008 Award Winner 

NCA/ICA 2008 Health Communication Dissertation and Thesis Awards

Top Thesis
Exploring Contributions of Genre-Specific Media Toward Perceptions of Personal and Social Risk of Smoking Among South Koreans
Jiyeon So, University of California at Santa-Barbara
Advisor: Hyunchi Cho

Top Dissertation
An Empirical Test of Metaphors as a Strategy for Creating Culturally Appropriate Health Messages
Janice Krieger, The Ohio State University
Co-Advisors: Roxanne Parrott and Jon Nusbaum, Penn State University


Top Student-Led Paper
Social Barriers to Safer Food Preparation and Storage Practices Among Consumers
Norman Porticella (Cornell University)


Top Student Authored Paper
Minority Communities and Health Information Knowledge Gaps on Obesity-Related Risk Factors
Joyee Chatterjee (University of Southern California)


2007 Award Winners 

NCA/ICA 2007 Health Communication Dissertation and Thesis Awards


Top Thesis
The Role of Context and Rationalizations in Understanding Behavior in Relation to HIV Prevention in Rural Malawi: A Qualitative Analysis
by Sarah Gibson, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
Advisor: Rajiv Rimal


Top Dissertation
The Role of Emotion in Anti-Drug PSAs: Investigating the Impact of Guilt Arousal on Perceived Message Effectiveness and Behavioral Intentions to Use Drugs
by Melissa Harris, University of Kentucky
Co-Advisors: Nancy Harrington & Philip Palmgreen


Top Student-Led Paper
Exploring the Role of Expressing Positive Emotion within Online Support Groups on Women with Breast Cancer
by Jeong Yeob Han (University of Wisconsin/Madison)


Top Student Authored Paper
Attribution and the Seeking of Information about Breast Cancer Risk
by Zheng Yang (Cornell University)