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Ashley P. Duggan (Ph.D., University of California, Santa Barbara 2003) is Professor in the Communication Department and in the Medical Humanities and First Year Experience programs at Boston College.  Her research is systematically institutionalized in theoretical and empirical projects aimed at improving relationship-centered healthcare.  Director of a recently formed Communication and Relationships in Family Medicine Research Partnership with the Department of Family Medicine at Tufts University School of Medicine.  From January through May 2023, she is Visiting Fulbright Professor with the Centre for Positive Health Sciences at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) University of Medicine and Health Sciences.

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Ashley Duggan’s research and academic appointments are grounded in intersections of health and illness in relationships and in the multiplicity of theoretical lenses that provide a fuller explanation of co-occurring, reciprocal processes.  Her interconnected work in medicine and public health alongside her research in Communication integrates social behavioral science into medicine including interdisciplinary understanding of physician reflection and integration of humanistic and scientific capacities and competencies in medical training. 


Duggan is a social scientist who conducts multi-method research investigating the intersections of interpersonal communication processes, health, and relationships.  Examining communication behaviors in naturalistic interactions, she focuses on the mutual influence process of communication about health and illness and the ways health outcomes are shaped by individual and contextual behaviors.  Her research addresses how communication behavior predicts health outcomes in doctor-patient interactions, the influence process of individuals in close relationships trying to alter health behaviors, and how relationship dynamics shape the meaning of communication.



Health and Illness in Relationships

2003, Ph.D. 

University of California, Santa Barbara

Department of Communication 

Nonverbal Behavior

Communication Theory and Research Methods

Intersection of Communication and Medicine

1997, M.A.

University of Georgia

Department of Speech Communication

1993, B.A. 

University of Georgia

Journalism (Cum Laude), Major in Telecommunication Arts, Minor in Speech Communication 

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