This master track provides you with the theoretical means to understand the role of language and communication in health-related contexts, as well as with the skills to promote dialogue and critically reflect on its outcome.
Having a good conversation has become more difficult in the current, increasingly polarized, social and political climate. But looking at a problem through the eyes of another, thus entering into a dialogue, is essential to overcome differences and create an inclusive society.
“The words of a President matter, no matter how good or bad that president is. At their best, the words of a president can inspire. At their worst, they can incite.” President Biden's speech on violence at the U.S. Capitol, January 6, 2021.
Understanding language use in everyday life
The program begins by laying a solid theoretical foundation for understanding language use in everyday and institutional contexts. For example, you learn to analyze how treatment options are negotiated between doctors and patients, how neonatal care is discussed with parents, and how anti-vaccine movements operate on social media.
Uniquely, the connection to professional practice is already established during the study program itself. Your academic internship is set up in close collaboration with health organizations in the field. The courses will include discussions of pertinent real-life case studies involving contemporary societal problems such as the lack of trust in science or mental health problems among young people, thus stimulating you to critically evaluate alternative solutions in order to provide sound and practicable advice.
There is a great demand for academically trained dialogue or communication specialists in the health area, in their role of independent consultants, researchers, facilitators, mediation experts or patient educators. Especially where scientific expertise is at stake or citizen participation of great importance, insight is required into how to create and sustain a fruitful dialogue between government and citizen, or between professionals and patients or clients. Think of institutes such as the Dutch RIVM, Ministries for Health, but also pharmaceutical industry, hospitals, hospices, addiction care, international NGOs and the WHO.
Meet our lecturers