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Special Event - Measles Symposium - February 9, 2015

Debra Roter, MPH ‘75, DrPh ‘77

Debra Roter, MPH ‘75, DrPh ‘77, is a University Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of Health, Behavior and Society at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Her primary research focus is patient-provider communication. Her research includes clinical investigation of patient and physician interventions to improve the quality of communication and enhance its positive effects on patient health outcomes. Her studies also include basic social psychology research regarding communication dynamics and interpersonal influence, as well as health education and health services research. She is also director of the School’s Center for Genomic Literacy and Communication.

Dr. Roter is the author of the Roter Interaction Analysis System (RIAS), a tool used by researchers throughout the world to analyze audio or video recordings of medical encounters.

Her July 2013 article in the journal Genetics in Medicine, “The Angelina effect: immediate reach, grasp, and impact of going public,” explored the intersection of celebrity and health awareness. A survey found that three out of four Americans were aware of Angelina Jolie’s double mastectomy, and fewer than 10 percent of respondents had the information to interpret her results. (Jolie had a double mastectomy after testing positive for a mutated BRCA gene, which increases chances of developing breast and/or ovarian cancer.) The study concluded that awareness of the Angelina Jolie story was not associated with improved understanding of the attendant health risks.

Dr. Roter has received many honors for her teaching and research, including recognition by the Web of Science as one of the most highly cited authors in the social sciences, as well as American Academy on Physician and Patient Award for outstanding research contribution to the theory, practice and teaching of effective health care communication and related skills.