HSC SIG Workshop 2019: ‘Argumenting Health Communication in the Digital Era’

The 2019 workshop of the British Association for Applied Linguistics (BAAL), Health & Science Communication Special Interest Group (HSC SIG) was hosted by the University of Brescia (Italy) and has now passed. Read a report of the event here.


In recent years, discourse analysts have taken various approaches to the study of health communication. As the main approaches to health discourse taken over the past several decades, Conversation Analysis, Interactional Sociolinguistics and Narrative Analysis are breaking new grounds and opening up new horizons and contexts in health communication. Moreover, the so-called ‘digital era’ is undoubtedly affecting health behaviours and healthcare practices, and digital technologies require both discourse analysts and healthcare professionals to expand their perspective beyond traditional doctor–patient communication. New tools, tests and apps are accelerating changes and improving outcomes in health, healthcare and wellness. Technology is growing at an incredibly fast rate, which can help solve the issues of rising healthcare costs, demographics, access to data and so forth, on condition that the entire health communication system is able to keep up with it. The way discourse about health travels “beyond the clinic” needs to be explored, not just across physical settings but also across multiple semiotic modes and media.

Keynote Speakers

  • Prof. Srikant Sarangi, Professor in Humanities and Medicine and Director of the Danish Institute of Humanities and Medicine/Health (DIHM), Aalborg University (DK), on “Modes and modalities in technology-mediated healthcare: A critical appraisal”.
  • Prof. Sara Rubinelli, President of the European Association for Communication in Healthcare (EACH) , University of Lucerne (CH), on “Knowledge co-creation in online communities towards a better health services delivery and medical care
  • Prof. Pier Luigi Lopalco, MD, Professor of Hygiene and Preventive Medicine, University of Pisa (IT), on “Effective public health communication in the era of social media
  • Dr. Eugenio Santoro, Head of the Laboratory of Medical Informatics, Department of Public Health, IRCCS – Mario Negri Institute – Milano

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