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Ashley P. Duggan is Professor in the Communication Department at Boston College and adjunct associate professor in Family Medicine and in Public Health and Community Medicine at Tufts University School of Medicine.  Her research and academic appointments are grounded in intersections of health and illness in relationships and in multiplicity of theoretical lenses that provide a fuller explanation of co-occurring, reciprocal processes.  Her interconnected work in medicine and public health alongside her primary discipline of 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.  Her scholarly work interconnects with public health and medicine, and her professional service and affiliations indicate her commitment to interdisciplinary professional relationships, to expanded capacity for creative problem-solving, and to long-term vision and goals.


Her work examines the theoretical and applied processes of verbal and nonverbal message production, perception, and outcomes associated with messages. More broadly, her research investigates the intersections among interpersonal communication behaviors, health, and relationships.  In her recent book she develops theoretical explanations for the ways health serves as unique context that shapes interpersonal and relational processes.  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 particular strengths are in observational methods and interaction research about the ways interpersonal communication processes predict health outcomes.  Her work is based on observations in medical interactions and family conversations about illness and disability, often videotaping and then assessing through rating and coding procedures the behaviors of multiple participants that allow for capturing the interplay of behaviors that occur between people. 


Duggan’s work employs and builds theories in communication, social influence, medicine, and health behavior.  She is currently developing theoretically grounded, evidence-based explanations for how and why interpersonal and relational processes are co-generative with health and illness.  Her work examines conceptual and operational assumptions of relational processes across disciplines.  For example, with her collaborative team, recent articles address the connection between the “inner life,” reflective practice, and medicine.  From physicians’ written reflections completed over an academic year, they show how physicians develop awareness of their communication behaviors as connected to values and virtues as reflected in actions.  Their data indicate that when given the chance, medical residents will examine their inner selves.  Nurturing and developing physicians’ humanity is just as important as developing their technical prowess or ability to make complex clinical decisions. This development involves beliefs and emotions, ethics and spirituality, all topics that often are considered to be outside of the normal realm of training (and even the practice of medicine). Tending to the inner life brings a fuller understanding of the multidimensional humanistic aspects of the physician.


Link to Ashley Duggan’s recent publications.  Contact for a copy of any of her publications.  

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