Howard & McLean Parker Distinguished Professor, UNC Hussman School of Journalism and Media
Cancer Prevention and Control
Area of Interest
My research interests boil down to a single question: How can we most effectively use communication to change behavior and thereby improve the health of individuals and populations? This question turns out to be highly complex, and demands the careful study of message source, content, design, channel, and context. Answering this question requires the use of several methodologies, including qualitative methods such as interviews and focus groups and quantitative methods such as surveys and experiments. In efforts to cumulative knowledge in the field, I have also been a prolific user of meta-analysis, a quantitative research technique for synthesizing entire literatures on a given topic. My goal is to advance and build communication science, as well as to contribute to and shape public policy where it intersects with communication and health.
My work spans several topical areas of the health communication field. In the early days of my career I was focused on HIV/STD prevention, while now I mostly focus on cancer communication and prevention, especially tobacco prevention and control.
Awards and Honors
- ICA Fellow, International Communication Association, 2023
- Clarivate Analytics Highly Cited Researcher, Social Sciences, 2018
- American Public Health Association Mayhew Derryberry Research Award, 2017
- Inaugural Abby Prestin Lecture, FDA Center for Tobacco Products, 2016
- NCA Outstanding Health Communication Scholar Award, 2016
- Lewis Donohew Outstanding Health Communication Scholar Award, 2016
- Thomas Reuters Highly Cited Researcher, Social Sciences, 2014
- Faculty Community Service Award, College of Communications and Information Studies, University of Kentucky, 2005
- Faculty Research Excellence Award, College of Communications and Information Studies, University of Kentucky, 2005
- National Institute of Health Loan Repayment Program Award, 2004-2009
- Peter Merenda Prize in Statistics and Research Methodology, 2001
News and Stories
Study finds youth have misperceptions about synthetic nicotine in e-cigarettes
Seth Noar, PhD, Sarah Kowitt, PhD, MPH, and colleagues report in a study that there is widespread uncertainty and misperceptions about the sources of nicotine in e-cigarettes among youth.
UNC researchers find FDA Real Cost ads reduce teen openness to vaping
Seth Noar, PhD, and colleagues report in JAMA Network Open that the Food and Drug Administration's Real Cost ads lowered the extent to which teens were open to vaping.
Study reveals most effective anti-vaping messages for teens
Seth Noar, PhD, Marcella Boynton, PhD, and colleagues report that effective anti-vaping advertisements geared to teens have the greatest impact when they emphasize adverse consequences and harms.
UNC Lineberger faculty recognized as being among the world’s most influential researchers
Fifteen UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center members were named as 2021 Highly Cited Researchers by Clarivate for publishing some of the most influential scientific papers during the past decade.