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I currently hold a lectureship and directorship in health communication at the Media and Communications Department of the University of Sydney after having held positions at the University of Florida and the University of New Mexico. Prior to my academic appointments, I worked in the communication industry on the media and agency side in two countries for about ten years. I am an affiliated researcher at the University's Charles Perkins Centre (the interdisciplinary research institute surrounding obesity prevention), where I lead a research group on health humanities research.

My current research is focused on understanding how people communicate and understand health. This includes public risk perception, social ecological modelling of message responses, community-based participation research (CBPR), analysis of socio-cultural interpretation of health in everyday situations and media, and drivers of policy or campaigns. My aim is to identify pathways through which human communication (using the Latin origin of communication, meaning "to share meaning"), partnerships, and interventions lead to specific system changes and positive health outcomes for both disease outbreaks and unhealthy lifestyle choices. I have an active Twitter handle (#owerder) and a blog that follow and discuss trends in health communication.