Dr. Amelia Burke-Garcia is an award-winning health communicator and researcher with nearly 20 years of experience creating and evaluating innovative and impactful health interventions. She currently works at NORC at the University of Chicago, where she leads the organization’s Digital Strategy and Outreach Program Area. In this role, she designs and implements strategies that leverage the power of digital media to influence behavior and develops new digital and mobile data collection methodologies and communication solutions. She is also part of the organization’s health communication practice leadership team.
Dr. Burke-Garcia is currently leading CDC’s national communication campaign, How Right Now/Que Hacer Ahora (HRN/QHA). Made possible with support from the CDC Foundation, and conducted in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), HRN/QHA aims to increase coping and resilience and reduce adverse psychological and behavioral outcomes, amidst – and as a result of – the COVID-19 pandemic. Evaluation findings revealed that HRN/QHA was most effective for those most in-need – that is, those who reported the greatest levels of stress and discord in the family.
Over the course of her career, Dr. Burke-Garcia has spearheaded some of the most innovative communication programs and studies on a variety of health topics. Her prior work has included acting as director for CDC’s National Influenza Vaccination Campaign and directing digital strategy for CDC’s entire immunization portfolio. She also has worked with MeetUp groups and the Waze mobile application to move people to action around flu vaccination and HIV testing, respectively.
She also has been examining the role of influencers in health communication and research for more than a decade. She has co-led an NIH-funded study examining the effects of mommy bloggers on reader awareness of environmental risk factors for breast cancer and their intention to take steps to reduce their risk. More recently, she completed an exploratory study examining the knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors of online influencers who are also non-vaccinators and now co-leads two grants focused on exploring vaccine hesitancy amongst communities of color.
She is the author of the S.O.C.I.A.L. framework for planning and evaluating digital campaigns and the author of the book, Influencing Health: A Comprehensive Guide to Working with Online Influencers, which was published by Routledge in 2019. Her new book, Communicating Through a Pandemic: A Chronicle of Experiences, Lessons Learned, and a Vision for the Future, is slated to be released later this year. She has also been published in numerous other books and journals.
She sits on the Advisory Board for the Society for Health Communication and the Board of Directors for ShiftCon, the largest health and wellness influencer network in the U.S.. She is a member of the editorial board for Social Marketing Quarterly journal and part of the Scientific Committee for BigSurv, the leading international conference on BigData and Survey Research.
She has been named as Diverse Health Hub’s Woman of the Week and to VeryWellHealth.com’s list of 10 Modern Female Innovators Shaking Up Health Care. She received a 2014 Social Media Icon Award from PRNews Group and most recently, has been featured by the U.S. Surgeon General for her work.
She holds a Ph.D. in Communication from George Mason University, a Master’s degree from Georgetown University, and a Bachelor’s degree from McGill University.