Heather J. Carmack, PhD

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love research! For me, there is nothing more exciting than designing, conducting, analyzing, writing, and presenting new knowledge. My true passion lies with health research and applied organizational communication research. My love for health research stems from my time working in hospitals as well as the fact that health touches all our lives.


I am drawn to the "dark side" of health--adverse events, death--because these are the areas we are most reluctant to talk about. And we have to talk about these topics! Whether in the classroom or in the field, my goal is to get us (providers, patients, general public) having honest and open conversations about these issues.


Methodologically, I identify as a qualitative/rhetorical scholar. I do occasionally conduct quantitative studies, depending on the questions I want to ask. As a researcher, it is important for me to be a true methodologist--someone who knows and uses all the methods of my discipline. 


Vorell, M. S., Carmack, H. J., & Scarduzio, J. A. (2014). Surviving work: Toxic organizational communication. Kendall-Hunt Publishers.

Peer Reviewed Academic Journal Articles

DeGroot, J. M., & Carmack, H. J. (in press). Accidental and purposeful triggers of post-relationship grief. Journal of Loss and Trauma


Carmack, H. J., & LeFebvre, L. E. (in press). A typology of perceived negative course evaluations. Journal of the Association of Communication Administration

McFadden, N. T., Wilkerson, A. H., & Carmack, H. J. (2022). "I feel like it's one of those things that everyone feels the same way about, no one wants to discuss it": A qualitative examination of female college students' pap smear experiences. Health Behavior Research, 5(3), Article 4. https://doi.org/10.4148/2572-1836.1138


DeGroot, J. M., & Carmack, H. J. (2022). "I know they meant well...": Helpful and hurtful memorable messages in mourning. Journal of Loss and Trauma, 27(5), 418-430. 


LeFebvre, L. E., & Carmack, H. J. (2022). Catching feelings: Narrating the emerging adults' relational process. Southern Communication Journal, 87(3), 235-247. 


Zengaro, E., Carmack, H. J., Buzzelli, N., & Towery, N. A. (2022). Disclosure catalysts in student disclosures of personal health information to college instructors. Health Communication, 37(1), 55-63. 


Price, S., Carmack, H. J., & Kuang, K. (2021). Contradictions and predicaments in instructors' boundary negotiations of students' health disclosures. Health Communication, 36(7), 795-803. 


DeGroot, J. M., & Carmack, H. J. (2021). Loss, meaning-making, and coping after the 2016 Presidential election. Illness, Crisis, & Loss, 29(2), 159-181. 


DeGroot, J. M., & Carmack, H. J. (2020). Unexpected negative participants responses and researcher safety: "Fuck your survey and your safe space, trigger warning bullshit". Journal of Communication Inquiry, 44(4), 354-375. 


Carmack, H. J., & Harville, K. (2020). Including communication in the nursing classroom: A content analysis of communication competence and interprofessional communication in nursing fundamentals textbooks. Health Communication, 35(13), 1656-1665. 


Carmack, H. J. (2020). Hospital image repair strategies, organizational apology, and medical errors: An analysis of the CoxHealth brain over-radiation case. Health Communication, 35(12), 1466-1474. 


Carmack, H. J., & DeGroot, J. M. (2020). Communication apprehension about death, religious identification, and religiosity: Predictors of organ and body donation decisions. Omega: Journal of Death and Dying, 81(4), 627-647. 


LeFebvre, L. E., & Carmack, H. J. (2020). Catching feelings: Exploring commitment (un)readiness in emerging adulthood. Journal of Personal and Social Relationships, 37(1), 143-162.


LeFebvre, L. E., Carmack, H. J., & Pederson, J. R. (2020). "It's only one negative comment": Women instructors' perceptions of (un)helpful support messages following hurtful course evaluations. Communication Education, 69(1), 19-47. 


Carmack, H. J., & Ahmed, R. (2019). Students' perceptions of provider cultural competence and communication with providers: Predictors of university health center patient satisfaction. Journal of Health Communication, 24(9), 719-727. 


Carmack, H. J., & LeFebvre, L. E. (2019). "Walking on eggshells": Traversing the emotional and meaning making processes surrounding hurtful course evaluations. Communication Education, 68(3), 350-370.


Carmack, H. J., & DeGroot, J. M. (2018). Trauma metaphor use after Hillary Clinton's loss in the 2016 Presidential election. Journal of Loss and Trauma, 23(6), 468-483. 


Heiss, S. N., Smith, K. S., & Carmack, H. J. (2018). Professional turf wars: An examination of professionalism as a strategic communication practice used by registered dietitians. Qualitative Research in Medicine & Healthcare, 2(3), 121-131. 


Carmack, H. J. (2018). Cultural approaches to health communication. Syllabus: Journal of Teaching, 7(1), 1-15. 


Carmack, H. J., & Serafin, J. A. (2018). College students' communication about complementary and alternative medicine practices. Qualitative Research in Medicine & Healthcare, 2(1), 14-19. 


Hudak, N. C., & Carmack, H. J. (2018). Waiting for the doctor to ask: Influencers of lesbian, gay, and bisexual identity disclosure to healthcare providers. Qualitative Research in Medicine & Healthcare, 2(1), 20-29.  


Hudak, N. C., Carmack, H. J., & Smith, E. D. (2018). Student perceptions of providers' cultural competence, attitudes towards providers, and patient satisfaction at a university health center: International and US student differences. Journal of International Students, 8(2), 960-976. 


Carmack, H. J., Nelson, C. L., Hocke-Mirzashvili, T. M., & Fife, E. M. (2018). Depression and anxiety stigma, shame, and communication about mental health among college students: Implications for communication with students. College Student Affairs Journal, 36(1), 68-79. 


Carmack, H. J., & Heiss, S. N. (2018). Using the Theory of Planned Behavior to predict college students' intent to use LinkedIn for job searches and professional networking. Communication Studies, 69(2), 145-160. 


Richardson, S. T., & Carmack, H. J. (2017). Utilizing the television series Chasing Life to develop a deeper understanding of the complexities of providing social support. Discourse: The Journal of the Speech Communication Association of South Dakota, 4, 52-56. 


Carmack, H. J., Bouchelle, Z., Rawlins, Y., Bennet, J., Hill, C., & Oriol, N. E. (2017). Mobilizing a narrative of generosity: Patient experiences on an urban mobile health clinic. Communication Quarterly, 65(4), 419-435.

**Winner of the Eastern Communication Association's 2018 Article of the Year Award**


Carmack, H. J., & Hocke-Mirzashvili, T. M. (2017). Stop the cough: A content analysis of knowledge, fear appeals, and efficacy in pertussis PSAs. International Journal of Communication and Health, 11, 13-19.

Carmack, H. J. (2017). Crafting a culture of patient safety: Structuring physicians' medical error disclosure and apology. Ohio Communication Journal, 55, 29-42.

Carmack, H. J. (2016). Defining "doctor": Constructing a representative anecdote of physician ethos on television medical dramas. Texas Speech Communication Journal, 40(1), 20-33.

Carmack, H. J., & DeGroot, J. M. (2016). Development and validation of the Communication Apprehension about Death scale. Omega: Journal of Death and Dying, 74(2), 239-259.


Carmack, H. J. (2016). Forensic educators' sensemaking about healthy tournament management policies. Speaker & Gavel, 53(1), 5-24. 

Carmack, H. J., Bedi, S., & Heiss, S. N. (2016). International students, university health centers, and memorable messages about health. Journal of International Students in Higher Education, 16(1), 52-72.

Heiss, S. N., Carmack, H. J., & Chadwick, A. (2015). Effects of interpersonal communication, knowledge, and attitudes of pertussis vaccination in Vermont. Journal of Communication in Healthcare, 8(3), 207-219.

Noland, C., & Carmack, H. J. (2015). “You never forget your first mistake”: Nursing socialization, memorable messages, and communication about medical errors. Health Communication, 30(12), 1234-1244.  


Noland, C. N., & Carmack, H. J. (2015). Narrativizing nursing students’ experiences of medical errors during clinicals. Qualitative Health Research, 25(10), 1423-1434.


Carmack, H. J., & Holm, T. T. (2015). A little help from my friends: A relational health communication competence approach to social support for forensic educators. National Forensic Journal, 33(1), 14-34.   


Carmack, H. J., DeGroot, J. M., & Quinlan, M. M. (2015). “A view from the top”: Crafting the male “Domdentity” in domestic discipline relationships. Journal of Men’s Studies, 23(1), 63-78.  


Vorell, M. S., & Carmack, H. J. (2015). Healing the healer: Stress and coping strategies in temporary medical work. Health Communication, 30(4), 398-408.


DeGroot, J. M, Carmack, H. J., & Quinlan, M. M. (2015). “Topping from the bottom”: Relational convergence of meaning in domestic discipline relationships. Sexuality and Culture, 19(1), 85-102.


Carmack, H. J. (2014). Social and tertiary health identities as argument in the DSM V Asperger’s/Autism debate. Western Journal of Communication, 78(4), 462-479.


Carmack, H. J. (2014). A cycle of redemption in a medical error disclosure and apology program. Qualitative Health Research, 24(6), 860-869.   


Carmack, H. J., & DeGroot, J. M. (2013-2014). Exploiting loss?: Ethical considerations, boundaries, and opportunities for the study of death and grief online. Omega: Journal of Death and Dying, 68(4), 311-331.    


Carmack, H. J., & Holm, T. T. (2013). Stress, burnout, job satisfaction, and intent to leave among collegiate forensic educators. National Forensic Journal, 29(1/2), 41-59.


Carmack, H. J., & Galanes, G. J. (2013). More than just good grades: Dialectical tensions in the construction of “good” student identity. Qualitative Communication Research, 2(1), 81-108.

** Winner of the National Communication Association Communication as Social Construction Division’s 2015 Article of the Year**


DeGroot, J. M., & Carmack, H. J. (2013). “It may not be pretty, but it’s honest”: Examining embodied parental grief on the Callapitter blog. Death Studies, 37(5), 448-470.  


Galanes, G. J., & Carmack, H. J. (2013). “He’s really setting an example”: Student contributions to the learning environment. Communication Studies, 64(1), 49-65.  

Galanes, G. J., & Carmack, H. J. (2012). The relationship between communicative competence and student personal characteristics, interpersonal and organizational forms of educational engagement. Ohio Communication Journal, 50, 107-127. 


Holm, T. T., & Carmack, H. J. (2012). Forensics as a correlate of graduate school success. Journal of the Association for Communication Administration, 31(1), 29-45.

** Winner of the 2013 American Forensic Association Daniel Rohrer Outstanding Research Article of the Year**


Heiss, S. N., & Carmack, H. J. (2012). Knock, knock; who’s there? Making sense of organizational entrance through humor. Management Communication Quarterly, 26(1), 106-132.  


Carmack, H. J. (2011). Everythang’s gonna be all white: The Fightin’ Whities use of parody and planned incongruity for social change. Florida Communication Journal, 39(2), 35-44.


Carmack, H. J. (2010). Structuring and disciplining apology: A structurational analysis of health care benevolence laws. Qualitative Research Reports in Communication, 11, 6-13.    


Carmack, H. J. (2010). “What happens on the van stays on the van”: The (re)structuring of health privacy scripts on an Appalachian mobile health clinic. Qualitative Health Research, 20(10), 1393-1405.   


Carmack, H. J. (2010). Bearing witness to the ethics of practice: Storying physicians’ medical mistake narratives. Health Communication, 25(5), 449-458. 


Carmack, H. J. (2009). Making sense of language use and delivery in argumentation with slam poetry. Communication Teacher, 23(1), 19-22.


Carmack, H. J. (2008). “The ultimate ice cream experience”: Performing passion as expression of organizational culture. Ohio Communication Journal, 46, 109-129.


Carmack, H. J., Bates, B. R., & Harter, L. M. (2008). Narratives, apologia, and the construction of health care issues: The case of President Clinton’s apology-by-proxy for the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment. Journal of Medical Humanities, 29(2), 89-109. 


Smith, A. K., Carmack, H. J., & Titsworth, B. S. (2006). Socialization and the first year experience: Managing the tension of in(ter)dependence. The Journal of the First-Year Experience & Students in Transition, 18(2), 83-109.


Carmack, H. J. (2006). Dixie Chicks, President Bush, and the discursive backlash: Embedded narratives as representational ideographs of <freedom of speech> and <patriotism>. The Florida Communication Journal, 32(2), 70-81. 


Carmack, H. J., & Holm, T. T. (2005). Home sweet home: The role of the forensics squadroom in team socialization and identification. National Forensics Journal, 23(2), 32-53.

Book Chapters and Case Studies

* Denotes a peer reviewed submission

**Denotes an invited submission


**Carmack, H. J., & Quinlan, M. M. (accepted). Teaching health communication. In J. P. Mazer (Ed.), Teaching communication series: Volume II: Teaching communication studies

**Carmack, H. J., Cooke-Jackson, A., Tian Y., Mackert, M., & Thompson, T. L. (accepted). Instructional health communication in professional contexts: Where do we go from here? In Instructional communication in professional contexts

**T. L. Thompson, Carmack, H. J., Egbert, N., & Tian, Y. (accepted). Instructional communication in health contexts. In Instructional communication in professional contexts

*DeGroot, J. M., Vik, T. A., Stassen, H. M., & Carmack, H. J. (accepted). Stage directions and snarky comments: Shadow networks in Zoom meetings throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. In M. Nunes & C. Ozog (Eds.), Zoom: Performance, precarity, and performativity in the age of COVID-19

**Carmack, H. J., & Stassen, H. M. (2019). Using the Theory of Planned Behavior to create health change: The case of university sleep-positive campaigns. In T. Avtgis, A. Rancer, E. MacGeorge, & C. Liberman (Eds.), Casing communication theory (pp. 333-348). Dubuque, IA: Kendall Hunt. 


** Stassen, H. M., & Carmack, H. J. (2019). Questionnaire design. In J. Edlund (Ed.), Advanced research methods for the social sciences (pp. 191-208). Oxford: Oxford University Press. 


*DeGroot, J. M., & Carmack, H. J. (2019). The modality switch effect: Public grief online, social support offline. In J. P. Mazer (Ed.), Communication and social media: Case studies across personal and professional relationships (pp. 72-79).  NY: Oxford University Press. 


*Carmack, H. J., & Noland, C. M. (2019). Healthcare public relations and moral obligations: Patient safety and the Boston University Medical Center tuberculosis case. In B. Brunner & C. Hickerson (Eds.), Cases in public relations: Translating ethics into action (pp. 210-217). Oxford: Oxford University Press. 


*DeGroot, J. M., & Carmack, H. J. (2016). Disenfranchised grief of the never-existed. In E. Gilchrist-Perry & S. D. Long (Eds.), Contexts of the dark side of communication (pp. 189-201). NY: Peter Lang. 


* DeGroot, J. M., & Carmack, H. J. (2012). Blogging as a means of grieving. In T. Dumova & R. Fiordo (Eds.), Blogging in the global society: Cultural, political, and geographical aspects (pp. 161-177). Hershey, PA: IGI Global.


*Carmack, H. J. (2012). Bad for your health organization. In J. S. Wrench, (Ed.) Casing Organizational Communication (pp. 35-42). Dubuque, IA: Kendall Hunt.


*Carmack, H. J. (2010). Contemplating competency: Exploring dialogue and decision-making on a hospital ethics committee board. In L. W. Black (Ed.), Group communication: Cases for analysis, appreciation, and application (pp. 135-141). Dubuque, IA: Kendall-Hunt Publishing.  


**Meyer, K. R., Carmack, H. J., & Pinkerton, C. M. (2008). Outline and argument construction.  In D. West, K. M. Meyer, & J. P. Mazer (Eds.), Fundamentals of public communication: COMS 103 (pp. 66-77). Plymouth, MI: Hayden-McNeil.


* Harter, L. M., Deardorff, K., Kenniston, P., Carmack, H. J., & Rattine-Flaherty, E. (2008). Changing lanes and changing lives: The shifting scenes and continuity of care of a mobile health clinic. In M. Dutta-Bergman & H. Zoller (Eds.), Emerging issues and perspectives in health communication: Interpretative, critical, and cultural approaches to engaged research (pp. 313-334). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.


**Harter, L. M., Carmack, H. J., Rattine-Flaherty, E., & Smith, A. (2005). Communication   campaigns, community, and citizenship. In J.W. Smith (Ed.), Communication and  campaigns (pp. 15-31).  Dubuque, IA: Kendall Hunt Publishing.


**Carmack, H. J., & Young, S. L. (2005). Finding and evaluating sources.  In P. Royse, D. Novak, & S. Titsworth (Eds.), Fundamentals of public communication: COMS 103 (pp. 11-23). Plymouth, MI: Hayden-McNeil.   


**Mudambi, A., & Carmack, H. J. (2004). Finding and evaluating sources. In P. Royse, D. Novak, & S. Titsworth (Eds.), Fundamentals of public communication: COMS 103 (pp. 11-23). Plymouth, MI: Hayden-McNeil. 


Carmack, H. J. (2001). Saving America’s angels of mercy.  Winning Orations, 53-55.

Encyclopedia Entries

* Denotes a peer reviewed submission
**Denotes an invited submission 

** Carmack, H. J. (in press). Patient safety and quality. In Wiley international encyclopedia of health communication

**Carmack, H. J. (2017). Applied communication. In M. Allen (Ed.), SAGE encyclopedia of communication research methods (pp. 40-44). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

** Carmack, H. J. (2014). Ethics in provider-patient interaction. In T. Thompson (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Health Communication (pp. 436-437). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.


**Carmack, H. J. (2014). Medicalization. In T. Thompson (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Health Communication (845-846). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

**Carmack, H. J. (2014). Role stress-overall. In T. Thompson (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Health Communication (pp. 1196-1199). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.


Book Reviews

Carmack, H. J. (2016). [review of The intersection of star culture in America and international medical tourism]. Popular Culture Studies Journal, 4(1 & 2), 502-505.

Carmack, H. J. (2010). [review of Practice under pressure: Primary care physicians and their medicine in the twenty-first century]. The Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved, 21(4), 1412-1414.


Carmack, H. J. (2006). A unity of dialectics [review of The unity of mistakes]. The Journal of Health Communication, 11(6), 629-632.


Carmack, H. J. (2006). [review of Medicine as culture].  Medical Anthropology Quarterly, 20(2), 257- 259. 

Trade Publications

Carmack, A. L., & Carmack, H. J. (2016). S-PASS: Using hand-off communication strategies for academic advising. Academic Advising Today, 39(2).

Carmack, H. J. (2010). The communicative power of the checklist. Communication Currents, 5(1). http://www.communicationcurrents.com/index.asp?bid=15&issue=56&issuepage=210.


Carmack, H. J., Deardorff, K., Kenniston, P., Rattine-Flaherty, E., & Harter, L.M. (2005). Continuity of care amidst shifting scenes: Resourcefulness and flexibility in the Healthy Adult Program. http://www.oucom.ohiou.edu/csp/ContinuityOfCare2008.htm.


Harter, L.M. , Kenniston, P., Carmack, H. J., Rattine-Flaherty, E.., & Deardorff, K. (2005). 21ST century house calls provided by Ohio University’s Childhood Immunization Program. http://www.oucom.ohiou.edu/csp/ChangingLanes2008.htm.


Rattine-Flaherty, E., Kenniston, P., Deardorff, K., Carmack, H. J., & Harter, L.M. (2005). Transporting compassion, connection, and care: Mobile breast and cervical screening unit emphasizes the “Cs” of health care. http://www.oucom.ohiou.edu/csp/TransportingCompassion2008.htm.

Learned Conferences



I've presented over 100 competitively selected papers at national, regional, state, and specialty conferences, including the National Communication Association, Central States Communication Association, Eastern Communication Association, Kentucky Health Communication Conference, DC Health Communication Conference, and NASPA.


I've also been invited to present at over 30 events, with topics ranging from medical ethics, how to design and conduct research studies, and how to succeed in graduate school.









Riding a trolley at the 2010 National Communication Association annual conference in San Francisco, CA