Health Communication, and
I believe that technical communication solves problems (and that solutions may or may not be technological). I believe that the integration of qualitative and ethnographic methodologies are critical to understanding some of the world's greatest health problems. I believe that inclusion and user-centered design result in better experiences for all. And, I believe in the Oxford comma.
WHAT DO I DO?
I currently teach undergraduate courses in professional and technical writing and doctoral courses in field methods of research in rhetoric and writing.
I also consult in international development and public health. Looking for support for your desk review, UX or HCD project, report or proposal writing, or program evaluation? Let's talk!
Background & Expertise
I currently work at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg. I teach classes in grant proposals and reports, workplace & technical writing, and qualitative research methods. I also advise doctoral students in rhetoric and writing and in public health/implementation science.
My research and writing focuses on community engaged health communication. I am currently working to better understand the intersection of COVID-19 vaccine communication between health institutions and Latinx and disabled people in the U.S.
GLOBAL HEALTH ADVISOR
During the US emergency response to Zika virus outbreaks overseas (June 2016-March 2020), I supported USAID's Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean as a technical advisor for knowledge management; external communications; commodity procurement and supply chain; and monitoring, evaluation, and learning.
In 2015, I supported USAID's global health supply chain team as a doctoral intern with the Global Health Fellows Program, where I focused on knowledge management and evaluation of supply chain management.
I currently perform ad hoc consulting in writing and knowledge management projects.
WRITING AND COMPOSITION INSTRUCTOR
August 2012-May 2016
At the University of South Florida and Texas Tech University, I have taught requisite freshman-level composition classes as well as upper-level technical writing courses.
I have also supported the Texas Tech Health Sciences Center as a writing consultant and international students as an English tutor at the University of South Florida.
In various capacities, I have worked on page design, copyediting, and content development for the web, social media, and print products. These experiences have included direct marketing assistance for local businesses, design for daily newspaper production, comprehensive editorial support for biomedical research, and basic editorial assistance for a university press.
PHD TEXAS TECH
My dissertation explored the construction of risk in communications materials and activities during Caribbean Zika response. Coursework emphasis areas were qualitative research (including participatory action research and rhetorical analysis), user experience research and design, and the rhetorics of health and science.
MA UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH FLORIDA
My master's thesis examined the rhetorics of science and policy surrounding a neurotoxic antimalarial to advance a theory of definitional stasis. While at USF, I obtained a certificate in professional and technical communication.
BA CLEMSON UNIVERSITY
Double-majoring in English (Writing & Publication Studies) and Modern Language (Spanish), I participated in several multi-semester, small-class creative inquiry experiences, studied abroad in Argentina, and graduated from the Calhoun Honors College. My undergraduate thesis examined exclusionary language tactics within NIH minority recruitment policies.
I have a diverse range of experiences centered on improving inclusion through communication and design. My word processing, document design, and content management skills are transferable between technologies such as:
"You can't simply make the subaltern visible or lend her a voice... But just to make sure you've all got it into your heads this time, I'll say it again: there's no quick fix for inequality.
And if the subaltern is to be taught to speak, as I believe she must be, humanitarian efforts (would-be quick fixes) won't cut it."
My academic email address is jgerdes AT vt DOT com. Please reach out to connect about potential collaborations!
If you need a temporary or short-term consultant, please use the email address below or fill the form to the right.