Promoted to Professor
Marifran Mattson achieved a PhD in Communication at Arizona State University (1995), an M.A. in Communication and Rhetorical Studies at Marquette University (1992), and a B.A. in Communication, Media, and Theatre at St. Norbert College (1987).
Dr. Mattson’s integrated research and teaching program emphasizes university-community engagement by exploring the intersections of designing, implementing, and evaluating health campaigns, health advocacy initiatives, and service-learning pedagogy. She is particularly interested in communication processes and challenges related to human health and safety. Theoretically, she seeks to identify critical interactive features to improve communication and reduce harm among people within diverse contexts including public health campaigns, public policy debates, HIV testing, and patient/healthcare provider confidentiality. Mattson’s methodological choices are predicated upon her research questions and typically involve mixed methodologies including observations, interviews, focus groups, and surveys.
Mattson incorporates her professional interests within the community via the Motorcycle Safety at Purdue campaign (www.ItInvolvesYou.com), which was founded with a team of graduate students after Mattson was involved in a life-altering motorcycle crash. Often, the courses she teaches in health communication and small group/team communication accomplish service-learning projects associated with the campaign. She also chaired the Indiana Amputee Insurance Protection Coalition, which worked to pass legislation in 2008 that protects insurance coverage for prosthetics.
Mattson’s research and pedagogy have been published in journals such as Health Communication, Health Marketing Quarterly, Health Promotion Practice, International Journal of Motorcycle Studies, Journal of Higher Education Outreach & Engagement, and in book chapters. She is co-author of Health as Communication Nexus: A Service Learning Approach (Kendall Hunt, 2010). Currently she is coauthoring a book titled Enhancing Qualitative Interviewing by Integrating Metatheory: A Practical Approach Illustrated by a Safety Exemplar (Lexington) and she is under contract to write a book titled Health Advocacy: A Communication Approach (Peter Lang).