Gary L. Kreps

Gary L. Kreps

Gary L. Kreps

Professor,Director; Center for Health and Risk Communication

Health communication/promotion, health equity, multicultural relations, social organizations, applied research methods, health informatics, communication campaigns, global health, and social change

I am a University Distinguished Professor of Communication and Director of the Center for Health and Risk Communication at George Mason University. I teach courses in Communication Research, Health Communication, Risk Communication, Interpersonal Communication, Organizational Communication, Consumer-Provider Health Communication, Health Communication Campaigns, and E-Health Communication. 

My active research program has been funded by many federal agencies, foundations, and organization. I examine the influences of communication on reducing health risks and enhancing health outcomes, with a focus on promoting health equity in society. I am an expert on community-based participatory research, health information dissemination, and the effective design and use of health information technologies. My frequently cited publications are reported in more than 450 books, articles, and chapters. I serve on the FDA Risk Communication Advisory Committee and am a scientific adviser to the NIH, CDC, VA, HRSA, and many international health agencies, research firms, and foundations.

I've received a number of major research honors, including the Research Laureate Award from the American Academy of Health Behavior, the Outstanding Health Communication Scholar Award from both the International Communication Association and the National Communication Association (NCA), the Dale Brashers Mentorship Award from the NCA, the Gary Gumpert Urban Communication Research Award from the Urban Communication Foundation, the Health Communication Centennial Scholar Award from the Eastern Communication Association, the Pfizer Professorship in Clear Health Communication, the Lewis Donahue Outstanding Health Communication Scholar Award from the University of Kentucky, the Future of Health Technology Award, the Distinguished Achievement Award in Consumer Health Informatics and Online Health, and the Gerald M. Phillips Distinguished Applied Communication Scholar Award from the NCA.  

Prior to joining the faculty at Mason, I had the pleasure of serving as the founding Chief of the Health Communication and Informatics Research Branch at the National Cancer Institute (NIH), where I planned, developed, and coordinated major new national research and outreach initiatives concerning risk communication, health promotion, behavior change, technology development, and information dissemination to promote effective cancer prevention, screening, control, care, and survivorship. I also served as the Founding Dean of the School of Communication at Hofstra University, Executive Director of the Greenspun School of Communication at UNLV, and in faculty and administrative roles at Northern Illinois, Rutgers, Indiana, and Purdue Universities.

For more detailed information about my career, research interests, and accomplishments, please view my CV.

Current Research

Developing and advising a cross-national research network of countries conducting the Health Information National Trends Survey (HINTS) research program:

  • HINTS-USA funded by the National Cancer Institute (NIH)
  • HINTS-China funded by the Chinese Ministry of Health and the Chinese Food and Drug Administration
  • HINTS-Germany funded by the Stiftung Gesundheitswissen (German Health Information Foundation)
  • New international Global HINTS research sites are under development in Switzerland, the Netherlands, Greece, Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, Armenia, Peru, Israel, South Korea, Singapore, and Kenya. 

Developing, field testing, and evaluating an evidence-based interactive curriculum for training interdisciplinary health care team members to communicate effectively in delivering care to immigrant populations in free clinics.  This research and intervention program focuses on developing adaptive provider communication competencies for effective interprofessional communication, demonstrating cultural sensitivity, and working effectively with patients who have low levels of health literacy and limited English language proficiencies. This project is funded by the US Health Resources Services Administration (HRSA) and is being conducted in collaboration with faculty in the School of Nursing at George Mason University.

Evaluating and field testing best message strategies for communicating relevant health risk and benefit information to key public audiences across the US about current science and practices concerning genetically modified foods. This research is funded by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the US Department of Agriculture (DOA). 

Established and co-direct the Global Advocacy Leadership Academy (GALA) research and intervention program to examine the health communication and information needs of health advocacy organization leaders and to develop evidence-based training programs for advocates around the globe.

Advising the Partnership for a Healthier Fairfax community-based collaborative to evaluate health needs among vulnerable populations in Fairfax County, Virginia and to develop evidence-based programs and policies to promote healthy behaviors, tobacco and substance abuse control, good nutrition, and the reduction of health risks.

Serving as a scientific adviser to the transdisciplinary Breast Cancer and the Environment Research Program, funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIH), to identify environmental risk factors for breast cancer and to develop strategic public health information dissemination programs and policies to reduce breast cancer risks.

Selected Publications

Kreps, G.L. (2018).  Promoting patient comprehension of relevant health information. Israel Journal of Health Policy Research, DOI: 10.1186/s13584-018-0250-z.

Pan, J., Liu, B., & Kreps, G.L. (2018).  Who says what: Attribution and efficacy in the public discourse of depression in Sina Weibo.  BMC Public Health. 18:772

Burke-Garcia, A., Kreps, G.L., & Wright, K. (2018). Perceptions about disseminating health information amongst mommy bloggers.  Journal of Medical Internet Research-Research Protocols, doi:10.2196/resprot.7764.

Rosen, B.L., Bishop, J.M., McDonald, S.L., & Kreps, G.L. (2018).  Quality evaluation of Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine web-based educational interventions for clinicians.  Journal of Medical Internet Research-Cancer, (JMIR Cancer 2018;4(1):e3) doi:10.2196/cancer.9114.

Kreps, G.L., Burke-Garcia, A., & Wright, K. (2018).  The use of digital communication channels to enhance environmental health literacy. In S. Finn & L. O’Fallon (Eds).  Environmental Health Literacy. New York: Springer Publications.

Cingi, C.C., Eroğlu, E., & Kreps, G.L. (2018). Role of anosmia on personal communication.  In C. Cingi & N.B. Muluk (Eds.).  All around the nose.  New York:  Springer Publishers.

Kreps, G.L. (2018). Communication and palliative care:  E-health interventions and pain management.  In R, Moore (Ed.).  Handbook of pain and palliative care:  Biobehavioral approaches for the life course, 2nd edition.  New York:  Springer Publishers.

Yu, G., Pan, J., & Kreps, G.L. (2018).  The norms of health communication research: Theoretical framework and academic logic based on the Chinese Health Information National Trends Survey.  In: G. Yu (Ed.). Health communication: Chinese people’s information access, cognition, and acknowledgement. Empirical research and analysis based on HINTS China survey (pp. 3-14).   Beijing:  CIP, ISBN 978-7-5115-5540-3.  

Zhao, X, Mao, Q., Kreps, G.L., Yu, G., Li, Y., Xu, Z., Song, M, Chou, W-Y., Persoskie, A., He, R., & Kim, P. (2018). Cancer information seekers in China: A preliminary profile. In: G. Yu (Ed.). Health communication: Chinese people’s information access, cognition, and acknowledgement. Empirical research and analysis based on HINTS China survey (pp. 287-316).   Beijing:  CIP, ISBN 978-7-5115-5540-3. 

Kreps, G.L., Yu, G., Zhao, X., Chou, W.-Y., & Hesse, B.W. (2018). Expanding the NCI Health Information National Trends Survey from the US to China and beyond:  Examining the influences of consumer health information needs and practices on local and global health. In: G. Yu (Ed.). Health communication: Chinese people’s information access, cognition, and acknowledgement. Empirical research and analysis based on HINTS China survey (pp. 317-333).   Beijing:  CIP, ISBN 978-7-5115-5540-3. 

Kreps, G.L., Thackeray, R. & Barnes, M.D. (2018). Chapter 5:  Building a health communication framework.  In R.J. Bensley & J. Brookins-Fishers (Eds.) Community health education methods: A practical guide (4th edition) (pp. 69-91). Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett Publishers.

Kreps, G.L., & Alpert, J. (2018).  Evaluating online health information systems.  In H.D. O’Hair (Ed.).  Risk and Health Communication in an Evolving Media Environment (pp. 176-187).  New York:  Taylor & Francis.

Kreps, G.L., & Alpert, J. (2018).  Methods for evaluating online health information systems.  In P. Liamputtong (Ed.).  Handbook of research methods in health and social science.  New York:  Springer Publishers (doi:10.1007/978-981-10-2779-6_111-1).

Kreps, G.L.  (2017).  Online information and communication systems to enhance health outcomes through communication convergence.  Human Communication Research, DOI: 10.1111/hcre.12117

Kreps, G.L. (2017).  Stigma and the reluctance to address mental health issues in minority communities.  Journal of Family Strengths, 17(1)

Kreps, G.L. (2017). The relevance of health literacy to mHealth.  Information Services and Use, 37(2), 123-130. 

Kreps, G.L., Yu, G., Zhao, X., Chou, W.-Y., & Hesse, B.W. (2017).  Expanding the NCI Health Information National Trends Survey from the US to China and beyond:  Examining the influences of consumer health information needs and practices on local and global health.  Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly, 1077699016687725 

Kreps, G.L. (2017). Transdisciplinary health communication research across the continuum of care.  In C. Lambert & M. Grimm (Eds.), Health communication as a transdisciplinary field (pp. 13-22).  Baden Baden, Germany:  Nomos Verlag.

Kreps, G.L.  (2016).  Communication and effective interprofessional health care teams. International Archives of Nursing and Health Care 2(3), 2:051, ISSN: 2469-5823

Alpert, JM, Krist, AH, Aycock, BA, & Kreps, G.L.  (2016).  Applying multiple methods to comprehensively evaluate a patient portal's effectiveness to convey information to patients. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 18(5): e112, doi:10.2196/jmir.5451

Krist, A.H., Nease, D.E., Kreps, G.L., Overholser, L., & McKenzie, M. (2016).  Engaging patients in primary and specialty care.  In Hesse, B.W., Ahern, D.K., & Beckjord, E.  (Eds.).  Oncology Informatics:  Using Health Information Technology to Improve Processes and Outcomes in Cancer Care (pp. 55-79).  Amsterdam: Elsevier.

Kreps, G.L.  (2015). Health communication inquiry and health promotion:  A state of the art review.  Journal of Nature and Science, 1(2), e35, 1-12

Zhao, X, Mao, Q., Kreps, G.L., Yu, G., Li, Y., Xu, Z., Song, M, Chou, W-Y., Persoskie, A., He, R., & Kim, P. (2015). Cancer information seekers in China:  A preliminary profile.   Journal of Health Communication, 20(5), 616-626.

Rising, C.E., Bol, N., & Kreps, G.L.  (2015). The effect of age on use and perceptions of e-health in men with prostate cancer: Results from a web-based survey. Journal of Medical Internet Research: Cancer, (1):e6, doi:10.2196/cancer.4128; available at:  URL:

Oh, K.M., Jun, J., Zhao, X., & Kreps, G.L. (2015). Cancer information seeking behaviors of Korean American Women: A mixed methods study using surveys and focus group interviews. Journal of Health Communication, 20(10), 1143-1154.

Kim, W., Kreps, G.L., & Shin, C-N.  (2015). The role of social support and social networks in health information-seeking behavior among Korean Americans: A qualitative study.  International Journal of Equity in Health, 14(40). DOI 10.1186/s12939-015-0169-8.  



Grants and Fellowships

  • Senior Scientific Adviser and Co-Investigator, Planning Grant for the Health Information National Trends Survey (HINTS) – Germany, Stiftung Gesundheitswissen (Foundation for Health Information, Berlin, Germany), Eva Baumann, Hannover University, PI, (2017-2019).
  • Senior Scientific Advisor and Co-Investigator, Health Information National Trends Survey (HINTS) – China, Phase 2 Administration, Chinese Food and Drug Administration, Peoples Republic of China, Guoming Yu, Beijing Normal University, PI, (2016-2020).
  • Principal Investigator, Fiscal Year 2016, Proposal for Contract Training for the CDC University School of Public Health Education and Communication,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 2016).


Courses Taught

399- Health Communication

400- Research Methods in Communication

600- Introduction to Graduate Studies

620- Health Communication

634- Interpersonal Communication Theory 

635- Organizational Communication

705- Intercultural Health and Risk Communication

720- Consumer-Provided Health Communication

721- E-Health Communication

798- Communication Research Projects

820- Health Communication Campaigns


Dr. Kreps received his BA and his MA degrees in Communication from the University of Colorado, Boulder and his PhD degree in Communication from the University of Southern California.

Recent Presentations

  • Digital Health Communication Research and Applications, Workshop presented at Jinan University, School of Journalism and Communication, Guangzhou, China, 2018.
  • Applications to Promote Public Health from the Global HINTS Research Program, Keynote Address presented at the HINTS-China Research Conference, Beijing, China, 2018.
  • Communication Research and Global Health Promotion, Plenary Speaker, World Communication Forum Global Conference, Communication on Top Geneva, Switzerland, 2018
  • The Evolution and Advancement of Health Communication Science, Keynote Address, Health Communication Science Innovation Jam, MITRE Corporation, Health Communication Science Community of Practice, McLean, VA, 2017.
  • Applying the HINTS Research Program to Promoting Global Health, Distinguished Research Lecture, Department of Communication, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT, 2017.
  • Applying the HINTS Research Program to Promoting Global Health, University Lecture, School of Communication, Chapman University, Orange, CA, 2017.
  • Embracing the Ethical Imperative for Translating Health Communication Research into Practice, 15th Annual Communication, Medicine, and Ethics (COMET) Conference, Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis,” 2017.
  • Stigma and the Reluctance to Address Mental Health Issues in Minority Communities, Keynote Address, 15th Annual Disparities in Health in America: Working Toward Social Justice Workshop, University of Texas Medical Center, Houston, Texas, 2017.
  • Introduction to Health Communication Research and Theory, Jinan University, School of Journalism and Communication, Faculty and Graduate Student Workshop, Guangzhou, China, 2017
  • Humanizing digital health communication interventions with artificial intelligence and immediacy, Workshop for Medical, Nursing and Health Promotion Staff, Guangdong Hospital for Women and Children, Guangzhou, China, 2017.
  • Theoretical frameworks for analyzing and implementing HINTS-China data, keynote presentation at the HINTS-China Research Program Wave 2 Data Analysis Workshop, Beijing Normal University, Beijing, China, 2017.
  • Promoting Global Health Communication Inquiry and Applications, Breakout Session Presentation, Society for Health Communication National Summit, Arlington, VA, 2017.
  • The History of Health Communication, Opening Plenary Session Presentation, Society for Health Communication National Summit, Arlington, VA, 2017.
  • Communication for Health: Implications for Health Promotion, Partnership for a Healthier Fairfax Spring Meeting on Promoting a Healthy Message:  Strategies for Connecting With our Communities, Fairfax, VA, 2017.
  • Using Data to Design, Refine, Implement, and Sustain Risk Communication Programs to Counter Health and Safety Threats, Office of Science at the Center for Tobacco Products, Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Workshop on Battery Safety Concerns in Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS), Silver Spring, MD, 2017.  
  • Be Well: A Conversation with Gary Kreps.  How is Physical Wellness Connected to Community Wellness?  Pre-performance lecture and discussion for the play “Well,” 1st Stage Theatre, Tysons, VA, 2017.
  • Embracing Strategies for Translating Communication Research, Hugh Downs School of Human Communication, Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona, 2017.
  • Embracing Opportunities to Translate Health Communication Research into Practice, National University of Singapore, Department of Communications and New Media, Singapore, 2017.
  • Promoting Health Equity with Communication Research Across the Continuum of Care, University of Hawaii Cancer Center, Cancer Prevention and Control Program, Sullivan Center, Honolulu, Hawaii, 2017.
  • Evidence-Based Methods for Evaluating Health Communication Programs to Counter Health Threats, ABT Associates, Bethesda, Maryland, 2017.

In the Media

Radio Interview, “Communicating About the Dangerous Seasonal Flu Epidemic in the United States,” Texas Standard Public Radio, 1-29-2018.

Dissertations Supervised

Joonwoo Moon , Smokers’ Perceptions of Using Mobile Applications for Smoking Cessation: A Comparative Analysis Across Three Countries, China, Korea, and The United States (2018)

Deion Hawkins , “I Thought I Was Going to Die. All I Could Do Was Turn on My Camera and Pray:” Trauma and Communication Surrounding Police Brutality in the Black Community (2018)

Jordan Alpert , Assessing the Communication Immediacy of an Online Health Portal: Analysis and Recommendations to Create a Communicatively Competent Health Information System (2015)

Denise K. Scannell, Communicating about Autoimmune Thyroiditis: Influences on Marriage and Caregiving (2014)

Suzanne Carmack, Making Sense of Well-being: A Mixed-Methods Study Applying Sense-making Theory to Explore the Role of Communication Competence and Social Support in Physical, Emotional, Mental and Comprehensive Well-being (2014)

Wonsun Kim, The Role of Social Support and Social Networks in Health Information Seeking Behavior Among Korean Americans: A Mixed Method Approach (2013)

Kelly Vandersluis Morgan, Individual Fitness: Creating a Tailored Fitness Message Assessment for Women Ages 25-70 (2013)

Lindsay M. Hughes, One in a Million: Navigating Health Information and Rare Diseases (2013)

Linda Desens, Online Social Support: Buffering Deployment Stress Among Marine Corps Spouses (2013)

Nicole M. Robinson, To Tell or Not to Tell: Factors in Self-Disclosing Mental Illness in Our Everyday Relationships (2012)