Dr. K. “Vish” Viswanath is Lee Kum Kee Professor of Health Communication in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health (HSPH) and in the McGraw-Patterson Center for Population Sciences at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI). He is also the Faculty Director of the Health Communication Core of the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center (DF/HCC). Other additional administrative and scientific leadership positions held by Dr. Viswanath include: Director of the Center for Translational Communication Science, DFCI/Harvard Chan; Co-Director, Lee Kum Sheung Center for Health and Happiness, Harvard Chan; and, Director, Harvard Chan India Research Center. He is the founding Director of DF/HCC’s Enhancing Communications for Health Outcomes (ECHO) Laboratory.
Dr. Viswanath’s work, drawing from literatures in communication science, social epidemiology, and social and health behavior sciences, focuses on translational communication science to influence public health policy and practice. His primary research is in documenting the relationship between communication inequalities, poverty and health disparities, and knowledge translation to address health disparities. He has written more than 240 journal articles and book chapters concerning communication inequalities and health disparities, knowledge translation, public health communication campaigns, e-health and digital divide, public health preparedness and the delivery of health communication interventions to underserved populations. He is the Co-Editor of four books or monographs: Mass Media, Social Control and Social Change (Iowa State University Press, 1999), Health Behavior and Health Education: Theory, Research & Practice (Jossey Bass, 2015), The Role of Media in Promoting and Reducing Tobacco Use (National Cancer Institute, 2008) and A Socioecological Approach to Addressing Tobacco-Related Health Disparities (2017). He was also the Editor of the Social and Behavioral Research section of the 12-volume International Encyclopedia of Communication (Blackwell Publishing, 2008).
In recognition of his academic and professional achievements, Dr. Viswanath received several awards including the Postdoctoral Mentor of the Year Award from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Joseph W. Cullen Memorial Award For Excellence in Tobacco Research, American Society for Preventive Oncology (2014), the Dale Brashers Distinguished Mentorship Award, National Communication Association (2013), Outstanding Health Communication Scholar Award (2010) jointly given out by the International Communication Association and the National Communication Association and the Mayhew Derryberry Award from the American Public Health Association (APHA) for his contribution to health education research and theory (2009).
He delivered the 23rd Annual Aubrey Fisher Lecture at University of Utah in 2009. He was elected Fellow of the International Communication Association (2011), the Society for Behavioral Medicine (2008) and the Midwest Association for Public Opinion Research (2006). He was the Chair of the Board of Scientific Counselors for the National Center for Health Marketing at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Atlanta from 2007-2010. He has served as a member on four Institute of Medicine (IOM)/National Academy of Medicine Committees: Committee on Gulf War and Health: Treatment of Chronic Multisymptom Illness (CMI), the Committee on Sports-Related Concussions in Youth, the Committee on Health and Safety of Youth and The Committee on Parents of Young Children. He was a member of the National Vaccine Advisory Committee (NVAC) of the U. S. Department of Health & Human Services and Chaired its Working Group on Vaccine Acceptance (2012-2016), and is a member of the Board of Scientific Counselors, Office of Public Health Preparedness, CDC. His research is supported by funding from private and public agencies including the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).