Ashland University Professor Co-Authors Groundbreaking Medical Communication Book

Ashland University Communication Studies Professor combines with clinical professor of surgery to co-author groundbreaking publication in medical communication field.

Ashland, OH, August 24, 2011 --( Anticipating the increasing need for effective communication in healthcare, Dr. Theodore Avtgis, professor and chair of Communication Studies at Ashland University, has co-authored a new publication in the medical communication field.

Avtgis partnered with E. Phillips Polack, M.D., clinical professor of surgery at West Virginia University, to release “Medical Communication: Defining the Discipline,” which incorporates cutting edge information needed to navigate today’s dynamic culture of medicine and healthcare.

“I believe that this book combines evidence-based communication concepts with evidence-based medical care resulting in a best practices approach to medical communication,” Avtgis said. “This is important for both those within healthcare professions as well as society in general, as every human being will eventually interface with the healthcare system.”

Avtgis said this collaboration between medicine and communication studies has resulted in a unique approach to medical communication that is squarely focused on increased patient safety, successfully navigating the complex system of healthcare and the pursuit of best practices.

The publication is printed by Kendall Hunt Publishing in Dubuque, Iowa. Paul Carty, director of Publishing Partnerships with Kendall Hunt Publishing, said the book brings a unique approach to covering medical communication.

"There is really no other product on the market created by a physician and a communication scholar that addresses the issue of communication between health care provider and patient,” Carty said. “I have worked with Phil (Polack) and Ted (Avtgis) on other projects and do not know of anyone else who is qualified to write this groundbreaking textbook. It is a terrific service to both the medical practitioner and the medical consumer.

“With the changes in focus at the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), this product fulfills many of the core competencies required for institutions in the field,” Carty said. “It is a product that has been field tested and has over 650 references from the literature in all applicable disciplines."

The book is available for purchase through Kendall Hunt Publishing and other online bookstores, and more information regarding “Medical Communication: Defining the Discipline” is available at

Avtgis, who also maintains his appointment as adjunct associate professor of surgery at West Virginia University School of Medicine, came to Ashland University this summer after serving as associate professor of communication for six years and assistant professor of communication for three years at West Virginia University. Prior to that, he served as assistant professor of communication at St John’s University.

“Dr. Avtgis is recognized nationally as a leader in organizational and medical communication and is the perfect person to chair the Department of Communication Studies at Ashland University," said Dawn Weber, dean of the University’s College of Arts & Sciences. The department offers majors in public relations, strategic communication and sport communication.

Avtgis serves as editor-in-chief for Communication Research Reports, Eastern Communication Association, and is responsible for all operations related to the journal including editorial content and manuscript review processes. He is the author of many research publications, books, book chapters, workbooks and research presentations.

He received a doctorate in Communication Studies from Kent State University in 1999, a master of arts in speech communication studies from Emerson College in 1993 and a bachelor of science in Mass Communication/Television from Emerson College in 1990.

The book also has been praised by a number of critics, including:

“Medical Communication: Defining the Discipline deserves a place on the bookshelf of everyone in health care – nurses, physicians, administrators, and those shaping its future. As a reference, it should become well worn and treasured!”
-- David Kappel, M.D., FACS, West Virginia State Trauma System

“Medical Communication: Defining the Discipline represents a much needed and landmark work on medical communication. The text fully integrates the most important communication concepts into a context where effective communication is of the utmost importance.”
-- Andrew S. Rancer, Ph.D., University of Akron

“Medical Communication: Defining the Discipline is aimed at giving health care professionals a better understanding of the discipline of communication, its scientific basis and its practice. It is illustrated with examples of good and not so good communication behavior.”
-- Thomas R. Gadacz, M.D., FACS, Medical College of Georgia

Ashland University ( is a mid-sized, private university conveniently located a short distance from Akron, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. Ashland University values the individual student and offers a unique educational experience that combines the challenge of strong, applied academic programs with a faculty and staff who build nurturing relationships with their students.

Ashland University
Steve Hannan