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Rajiv N. Rimal, PhD

  • Chair, Department of Health, Behavior, and Society
  • Professor

Departmental Affiliations

Center & Institute Affiliations

Contact Information

624 N. Broadway
Hampton House 280B
Baltimore, Maryland 21205


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PhD, Stanford University, 1995
MA, Southern Illinois University, 1991
BE, Bhopal University, 1988


Dr. Rimal’s areas of expertise are in risk perception and risk communication. He studies how individuals process health information, particularly information dealing with various risk factors. Dr. Rimal's research also focuses on the influence of societal norms on individuals' behaviors. He is currently working on a number of HIV/AIDS-related projects in Malawi, Ethiopia, and India. He is also starting work on a nutrition project in Nepal.

Honors and Awards

Everett M. Rogers Award in Public Health Promotion and Health Communication, American Public Health Association, 2011

Outstanding Teacher, Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, 2011, 2012.

Combined ICA & NCA Distinguished Article Award, International Communication Association & National Communication Association, 2010 

Advisor to the Master's Thesis of the Year (Sarah Gibson, Advisee), Joint International & National Communication Association, 2007

Past Chair, Health Communication Division, International Communication Association

Past Chair, Health Communication Division, National Communication Association

Top-Four Paper Awards, Health Communication Division, International Communication Association annual conferences in 2010, 2009 (two papers), 2008, 2004, 2003 (two papers), 2002, 2001, 2000, 1994.

Top-Four Paper Awards, Health Communication Division, National Communication Association annual conferences in 2004, 2002.

Nathan Maccobby Award for Excellence in Communication Research, Stanford University, 1995

Editorial and Review Board Memberships Past & Present 


Journal of Public Health Research, Plaridel: A Philippine Journal of Communication, Social Influence, Journal of Health and Mass Communication, The Open Communication Journal, Human Communication Research, Journal of Communication, Communication Monographs, Health Communication, Communication Research, Communication Studies, Communication Yearbook, Communication Quarterly, Asian Journal of Communication

Federal Government Review Boards

Risk, Prevention, and Health Behavior (RPHB2) Study Section, National Institutes of Health, 2001-2003

Psychosocial Risk and Disease Prevention (PRDP) Study Section, National Institutes of Health, 2003-2007


Guest Co-Editor, Communication Theory Special Issue on Communication and Normative Influences, 2006

  • Hhealth communication, risk communication, risky behaviors, health promotion, normative influences, health message design, new technology in health promotion, risk, behavior change
  • Publications, last three years

  • Jang, S. A., & Rimal, R. N. (in press). Normative influences and alcohol consumption: The role of drinking refusal self-efficacy. Health Communication.

  • Limaye, R., Rimal, R. N., Mkandawire, G., Roberts, P., Dothi, W., & Brown, J. (in press) Talking about sex in Malawi: Toward a better understanding of interpersonal communication for HIV prevention. Journal of Public Health Research.

  • Lagasse, L. P., Rimal, R. N., Smith, K. C., Storey, J. D., Rhoades, E., Barnett, D. J., Omer, S. B., & Links, J. (in press). How accessible was information about HIN1 Flu? Literacy assessments of CDC guidance documents for different audiences. PLoS One.

  • Mead, E., Roser-Renouf, C., Rimal, R. N., Flora, J. A., Maibach, E. W., & Leiserowitz, A. (in press). Information seeking about global climate change among adolescents: The role of risk perceptions, efficacy beliefs and parental influences. Atlantic Journal of Communication.