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Jennifer Anderson

Jennifer Anderson, Associate Professor of Communication in the School of Communication & Journalism at South Dakota State University


Associate Professor, Health Communication

Office Building

Pugsley Center



Mailing Address

Pugsley Cont Ed Center 115
School of Communication & Journalism-Box 2218
University Station
Brookings, SD 57007


Jenn Anderson (Ph.D., Michigan State University) is an Associate Professor of Communication Studies in the School of Communication & Journalism at South Dakota State University.

Dr. Anderson has received over $600,000 in grant funding for health communication research. She is currently a Principal Investigator on a $368,794 grant from the National Institute of Nursing Research (part of the National Institutes of Health) for a health communication campaign to increase palliative care use among Native Americans. This is the first-ever NIH grant received by the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences, as well as the first time that the College of Nursing has received NIH funding with an SDSU faculty member as PI and SDSU serving as the primary site.

Dr. Anderson is a prolific scholar, having published 42 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters, with over 600 citations to those works. Her most highly-cited articles deal with cyberbullying on Facebook, weight-based stigma communication, and breastfeeding support. Anderson is also currently under contract with Cognella Publishing to write a health communication textbook that provides a complete overview of the field.

Dr. Anderson is also a passionate and dedicated educator. Anderson developed the Health Communication Minor in 2014, taking it completely online in 2019. Health communication coursework is highly relevant as we see skyrocketing demand for health care professionals--especially those with good communication skills. In 2018, Anderson won the Outstanding Young Speech Teacher Award from the Speech Communication Association of South Dakota; in 2018 Anderson received grants from the Wokini Initiative to expand health communication coursework to meet demand from instructors at Tribal Colleges & Universities. Dr. Anderson has also earned the Advanced Certification in Online Instruction from SDSU's Instructional Design Services team.

Dr. Anderson's service roles include Chair for the Activism, Communication Ethics, and Social Justice Interest Group at the Central States Communication Association (CSCA) and immediate past-Chair of the Health Communication Interest Group. Anderson has also served as secretary, vice president, and president of the SDSU Faculty Senate, vice chair and chair of the University Integrated Marketing & Communication Committee, coordinator of the Master of Arts in Communication & Media Studies program, and coordinator of the health communiccation minor.


Doctor of Philosophy, Communication, Michigan State University.

Master of Arts, Communication, Miami University.

Bachelor of Arts, Communication, Truman State University.

Academic Interests

Health Communication
Community-Based Research
Social Justice
Native American Health
Research Methodology (surveys, measurement, interviews, focus groups, qualitative data analysis, statistics)

Academic Responsibilities

Dr. Anderson typically teaches 3 courses each semester, including
-Interpersonal Communication (CMST 201)
-Communication Research (CMST 305)
-Health Communication (CMST 440/540)
-Current Issues in Health Communication (CMST 441/541)
-Research in Communication & Media (CMST 787)

Dr. Anderson also mentors undergraduate and graduate student research. My students have published their research in scholarly, peer-reviewed journals, presented their research at local, regional, and national conferences, and won awards for their work at SDSU's Undergraduate Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activity Day event. A former masters advisee, Rikki Roscoe, won the Outstanding Master's Thesis Award from SDSU in 2019.

Committee Activities

University Faculty Senate [Fall 2018 - Spring 2021: Secretary, Vice President, President]
Integrated Marketing & Communications University Committee [Spring 2019 - Spring 2021: Vice Chair, Chair]
Faculty Handbook Committee [Summer 2020]

Awards and Honors

Selected Awards

2022 | Top Paper, Political Communication Interest Group, Central States Communication Association

2018 | Outstanding Young Speech Teacher, awarded by the Speech Communication Association of South Dakota

2018 | Outstanding Scholar, College of Arts & Sciences, South Dakota State University

2018 | Outstanding Public Health Team Award, awarded to Brookings Supports Breastfeeding by the South Dakota Public Health Association

2017 | Excellence in Outreach and Engagement Award, awarded through SDSU, [This award is shared with Dr. Rebecca Kuehl]. $1,000.

2017 | Scholar of the Year, National States Advisory Council (of the National Communication Association)


Selected, Representative Grants

*Anderson, J. (PI), & Isaacson, M. (PI). (2022 – 2023). Culturally responsive palliative care messaging for American Indians: An efficacy trial (Award No. R21NR020383) [grant]. National Institute of Nursing Research of the National Institutes of Health. Amount awarded: $368,794.

*Anderson, J. (Co-PI), Hendricks, M. (Co-PI), & Lucchesi, R. (Co-PI). (2020). “South Dakota Department of Health 2020-21 Ad Evaluation.” South Dakota Department of Health Tobacco Control Program, $30,000.

*Anderson, J. (2019). “#MyCommunityMyStory: Wokini Scholars and college hopefuls from Oglala Sioux Nation tell their stories through photovoice.” Wokini Challenge Grant, $6,880.  

*Britt, B. (Co-PI), Britt, R. (Co-PI), & Anderson, J. (Co-PI). (2015). “Sharing Hope and Healing: Evaluating and Promoting Living Kidney Donation through a Social Media Campaign.” Internal grant through Dean of College of Nursing who had surplus funds on an NIH grant. Awarded $99,974. 

*Anderson, J. (Co-PI), Kuehl, R. (Co-PI), Tschetter, L., Schwaegerl, M., Yoder, J., Gullickson, H., Hildreth, M., Bachman, C., Drury, S. (2013). “Baby-Friendly Brookings: Promoting Civic Discourse to Support Breastfeeding.” Funded by the Bush Foundation, $73,721. 

Professional Memberships

European Association for Communication in Healthcare
International Communication Association
National Communication Association
Central States Communication Association

Area(s) of Research

Health Communication

Stigma Communication

Community-Based Participatory Research

Native American Health

To access research publications follow the links to my Google Scholar Profile or Open Prairie page listed at the top of this page.

Applications of Research

Understanding how we talk about health issues helps us develop innovative, sustainable approaches to improving health in our communities. Here are a few examples of concrete applications of Anderson's research:

*Anderson's research about cyberbullying on Facebook has been used across the U.S. and Canada to develop anti-cyberbullying campaigns in K-12 school settings.

*Anderson's work with Brookings Supports Breastfeeding led to the South Dakota Department of Health's statewide Breastfeeding-Friendly Business Initiative, which encourages businesses to have policies and practices to support breastfeeding employees and customers.

*Anderson's breastfeeding research, and advocacy through the Faculty Senate, also led to an SDSU policy that all new buildings on campus must have a "Mother's Room" available for mothers to breastfeed or express breastmilk. All Mother's Rooms are also indicated on campus maps and with indoor signage.



Google Scholar Profile Curriculum Vita [11.4.22]Online Health Communication Minor

Open Prairie

Open PRAIRIE - Public Research Access Institutional Repository and Information Exchange

Open Prairie