University of Nebraska Medical Center

Shining a Spotlight on Dr. Roma Subramanian

Roma Subramanian headshot

Affiliate Member Since 2021
Assistant Professor, School of Communication, UNO

What do you do at UNO?
I’m an assistant professor in the School of Communication at UNO. I’m also an affiliate faculty member in the Medical Humanities program as well as in the Goldstein Center for Human Rights. My research focuses on health communication, particularly regarding stigmatized health issues (e.g., mental illness, sexual abuse). Other areas of interest include the impact of social and mobile media on health, the dynamics of patient-provider communication, and the intersection between art and health.

Tell us about your educational research interests and teaching role.
With regard to teaching, almost every semester, I offer one of my favorite classes: “Health Communication.” The class explores topics such as communication between patients and caregivers; how dimensions of diversity, such as age, gender, race, sexuality, can influence patterns of communication; and how messages in news and entertainment media affect how we think about health. I also enjoy teaching a class on “Communication, health, and stigma.” The class explores stigma from multiple dimensions: how it is conceptualized and measured; how stigmatized disorders are portrayed by the media; how individuals with a stigmatized disorder manage this identity; and how interventions can be designed to reduce stigma. Regarding educational research, I’ve explored the impact of service learning as a pedagogical tool by conducting a study, along with Dr. Mary Perkinson (UNO, School of Music), that investigated how student musicians approach performing in healthcare environments. This research was presented at the National Organization for the Arts in Healthcare.

What is one of your favorite/memorable teaching moments?
A memorable teaching moment is from the first time I taught "Health Communication." What I enjoyed most about the class was the dynamic and vibrant class discussions. Students opened up to me and to each other and created a safe and vulnerable space to share healthcare experiences. This discussion made the course content come alive, and at the end of the semester, the class felt like a close-knit community.

What do you see as the biggest benefit to being a member of the IAE?
I’m excited to be a member of the IAE because if affords the opportunity for interdisciplinary collaboration.

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you "grew up"?
I wanted to be a writer and a physician as I was drawn to both the humanities and medicine. I’m grateful to be engaged in a career in health communication as it intersects these disciplines.

Back to Member Spotlight page