The OU’s Health Discourse research group consists of researchers and practitioners from disciplines across the university. The group is part of the School of Languages and Applied Linguistics and the Health & Wellbeing Research area.
We meet regularly to discuss issues related to illness and health and language, communication, medical humanities, and social health care. Our interests include among others:
- how different groups (patients, informal carers, healthcare professionals) communicate amongst themselves or with each other
- how different groups perceive, describe or talk about their experiences with and attitudes to health, illness(es) and healthcare
- how multilingualism, multiculturalism, technologies affect healthcare interactions
- what role translation & interpreting plays in healthcare outcomes
- how public health issues are positioned in the media and the effect this has on the success of different campaigns
- the contribution of fiction and literature to public perceptions of illnesses
- how stigma around mental health can be understood and reduced
- the role of literature in training healthcare professionals
- the impact of social media in the presentation of illness, death, and dying
- the intersections between social work and disability;
- the role of narrative in health communication and healthcare.
The group acts as a hub for the exchange and development of ideas and as a forum supporting researchers in their projects. Currently, the group is involved in a project in WELS (ASSIST) by Kate Lister, Myria Pieridou, Nate Owen, and Korina Giaxoglou, which is looking into students’ perspectives on the disability terminology on OU module sites and student services with the aim to propose a model for language use co-created with disabled students. The project has received funding from the WELS research into OU teaching and learning fund.