Lim Chong Yah Lecture by Professor Mohan J. Dutta

Voices at the margins of health:
A culture-centered approach to addressing global health inequalities

Prof. Mohan J. Dutta

Prof. Mohan J. Dutta

Mohan J. Dutta
Lim Chong Yah Professor, National University of Singapore
Professor of Communication and Associate Dean of Research & Graduate Education, Purdue University

Date: Friday 6 August 2010
Time: 10.30 a.m. to 12 noon
Venue: LT10

One of the most salient characteristics of contemporary public health is the deep inequality in health outcomes that exists within and between populations. Of particular importance are the absence of health infrastructures and capacities in the marginalized sectors of the globe in spite of the rhetorical emphasis of development institutions on pro-poor policies over the last six decades. In response to the lack of health infrastructures in marginalized communities, Professor Dutta proposes the culture-centered approach to health communication based on the observation that structural marginalization of the poor is fundamentally situated amidst discursive marginalization. The culture-centered approach puts forth the argument that the concept of culture is either missing from most public health and health communication theories that have been developed in Western elite circles, or is narrowly conceptualized as a static mapping of a place and its people that can then be utilized for developing effective health interventions. Instead, the approach proposes that culture is contextual and dynamic, constituted in the lived experiences of people and in their everyday struggles to make sense of the conditions in which they live. The emphasis therefore is on listening to the voices of the marginalized sectors of the globe that have been erased from the dominant discursive spaces of health care policies and interventions. Listening to these voices creates the bulwark for building locally centered theories of health in global spaces that render impure the stable categories of dominant theorizing and create openings for change.

Professor Mohan J. Dutta (Ph.D., University of Minnesota) is Professor of Communication and Associate Dean of Research & Graduate Education in the College of Liberal Arts at Purdue University. One of the most prolific scholars in health communication and winner of the Lewis Donohew Outstanding Scholar in Health Communication Award, he has been widely recognized for his work with the culture-centered approach to health communication. In his research with marginalized communities across the globe, he has explored the ways in which locally situated stories of health create openings for challenging the rationalities of dominant theories of health communication. Professor Dutta has published over 110 journal articles and book chapters in health communication in a short span of nine years and is the author of four books in health and development communication, including the widely used book Communicating health: A culture-centered approach. His work has been funded by the MacArthur Foundation, Agency for HealthCare Research & Quality, and the National Institutes of Health. At Purdue University, he is a fellow of the Service Learning Academy and the Entrepreneurial Leadership Academy, where he is currently developing a model of community-based networks of change.

Professor Mohan J. Dutta, recipient of the Lim Chong Yah Professorship, will be visiting CNM from 2 to 11 August 2010.

Homecoming 2010

CNM celebrated its annual Homecoming on Saturday 24 July, welcoming a whole clan (yes, we’ve grown!) of alumni, new graduates, staff present and past — and their families. There was a sense of déjà vu as we welcomed former students as well as teachers, with Ms Cynthia Owens and Dr Byungho Park (all the way from Korea) joining in. More importantly, the exuberance of the group overshadowed the fact that everyone was from different cohorts.

So packed with energy was the afternoon that we drove the rain clouds away, though each guest was armed with a spanking new CNM umbrella. The 2010 CNM Magazine was also launched on this day.

Guests were treated to a video presentation done by students of NM3208 before a sumptuous Thai buffet. Awards were also given out by Dr Millie to the following people:

2010 Best Teacher Awards

(1)   Dr Cho Hichang
(2)   Dr Linda Perry
(3)   Dr Chung Siyoung
(4)   Mr Gui Kai Chong
(5)   Mr Chua Chong Jin
(6)   Ms Francesa Nathan

2010 Best Teaching Assistants

(1)   Mr Christopher Ong
(2)   Mr Chan Yoke Hian

2010 Best Alumnus Awards

(1)   Ms Alicia Wong JiaHui
(2)   Mr Soh Junhao

2010 Best Teaching Scholars

(1)   Ms Carol Soon Wan Ting
(2)   Mr Florian Kund Laszlo

2010 Best Well-Rounded Honours Students

(1)   Ms Jemima Ooi Ai Ping,  Best Honours student, NTUC Income Prize Award recipient, and also Best Well-Rounded Student
(2)   Ms Michelle Woo Pui Mun, Best Well-Rounded Honours student
(3)   Mr Daniel Teo Hee Boon, Best Communication Management student, and Hill & Knowlton Award recipient

Alas this was also a time we bade farewell to Ms Ou Meimin and Mr Mohamed Elmie Bin Nekmat, both of whom are leaving CNM to pursue their doctoral studies.

Congratulations once more, everyone, and godspeed!

CNM welcomes Visiting Scholar Dr Byungho Park

CNM is honoured to host visiting scholar Dr Byungho Park. Dr Park comes from the Business School at KAIST (Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology). During his one and a half month in Singapore, he will be doing research on Singaporeans and media consumption, in collaboration with CNM Programme’s faculty members. His research centres on media effects, human motivational system, cognition and behaviour. Dr Park will be in Singapore until August 31st, 2010.

About Byungho PARK

Dr Byungho Park

Dr Byungho Park

After graduating from Korea University (BS, Computer Science, 1993), Byungho Park worked for Samsung Electronics for five years before he proceeded to graduate studies.  Dr Park (Ph.D., Mass Communications, Indiana University, 2006) trained under Dr Annie Lang in the areas of media psychology and psychophysiology.  He was assistant professor at the National University of Singapore (Communications and New Media Programme) for two years, and is an Assistant Professor at the Business School at KAIST (Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology).  He has two broad areas of interest: one is neuromarketing, which he sees as an area that applies psychophysiological research methods to marketing research (including advertising); another is human motivational system, which is related to personality and marketing, thus also having connection to neuromarketing.  He is particularly interested in individual differences in human motivational system, which is believed to lead to differences in cognition and behaviours.

Congratulations to the CNM Class of 2010!

CNM Class of 2010

CNM Class of 2010

Someone remarked that CNM had yet again dominated the phototaking at the UCC Courtyard this year — how could we not with our ever-growing class size?

As is with CNM tradition, the entire department (from current and past students, to teaching and administrative staff) showed up to rally behind the graduating class after their commencement ceremony on 13 July 2010. Armed with a plethora of DSLRs; tripods; iPhones; special lenses, there was no delusion that we were the CNM brigade.

This year we celebrate the graduation of 188 undergraduate and 2 graduate students.

Hip hip hooray, guys! We’ll see you soon at the Homecoming party on 24 July!