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Speakers » Shawna Dias

  • PhD Student

  • University of Maryland

  • USA

Shawna Dias is a doctoral student in the Department of Communication at the University of Maryland. She earned her master’s degree in Public Relations from Montana State University Billings in 2016, and has a professional background in the humanitarian services sector. Her professional experience is in emergency management and public engagement. Her current research projects examine public relations management during compounding crises and strategic health risk messaging.


Message framing and the protective action decision model: Student risk perceptions and protective responses to Adenovirus”

In the fall of 2018, a prominent mid-Atlantic University experienced an outbreak of adenovirus on its campus. More than 40 students were confirmed to have the virus, which resulted in the death of one student. This research is a comprehensive case study of the University’s response to this health crises and the effectiveness of its risk messaging. The author applies the protective action design model, and makes a case for its extension to include message framing as a precursor to the pre-decision process. This research is novel because it demonstrates how models which are unconventional for health risk messaging may be applied across disciplines.