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

Gary L. Kreps is a University Distinguished Professor of Communication and Director of the Center for Health and Risk Communication at George Mason University. He teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in Communication Research, Health Communication, Risk Communication, Interpersonal Communication, Organizational Communication, Consumer-Provider Health Communication, Health Communication Campaigns, and E-Health Communication. 

Dr. Kreps' active research program has been funded by many federal agencies, foundations, and health corporations, and examines the influences of human and mediated communication on reducing health risks and enhancing health, with a focus on promoting health equity in society. He is an expert on community-based participatory research, health information dissemination, and the effective design and use of health information technologies. His frequently cited publications are reported in more than 400 articles, books, and chapters. He serves on the FDA Risk Communication Advisory Committee and is a scientific adviser to the NIH, CDC, VA, HRSA, and many international health agencies, research firms, and foundations.

Dr. Kreps has received a number of major research awards 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 his appointment at Mason, he served as the founding Chief of the Health Communication and Informatics Research Branch at the National Cancer Institute (NIH), where he 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. He also served as the Founding Dean of the School of Communication at Hofstra University in New York, 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 detailed information about Dr. Kreps’s career, research interests, and accomplishments, please view his Curriculum Vitae.

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)

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 Healthy 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, to identify environmental risk factors for breast cancer and to develop dissemination programs and policies to reduce breast cancer risks.

Selected Publications

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).
  • 2014 Australian Endeavour Executive Fellowship, from the Australian government, Department of Education, for sponsored travel to Sydney, Australia to collaborate with scholars from Macquarie University in residence on research and curriculum development concerning health communication and international diplomacy, at their Institute for Soft Power.

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.

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)