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Heather Smith, PhD(c)




Heather Smith is a PhD(c) in health communication. Her research focuses on qualitative examinations of long term cancer survivorship, grief and women’s health. Her dissertation on mastectomy narratives utilizes crystallization of virtual ethnography, interviews and visual narrative inquiry. Heather’s research centers on some of life’s most difficult conversations where communication scholarship is needed most. She has presented extensively at the National Communication Association, Western States Communication Association and the American Academy of Communication in Healthcare. She has been involved in women’s health and risk topics since being a successful forensics speaker as an undergraduate. Heather is pleased to be completing her third degree in Communication Studies.

Position Statement: “As the DEI Lead Investigator, I cast a wide net for topics surrounding death and for people in a variety of places in academia and education, as well as other professions, to improve our understanding of dying with comfort, supporting those in the bereaved community, and connecting end of life with communication. My experience in health communication and end of life communication has shown me that many come to the scholarly and educational discussion through their own personal experience and I know we have many potential advocates and activists that we need to be part of our movement that we need to reach and we need to give them a sense of ownership and belonging. I am supportive and committed to all team members from all backgrounds-I see DEI from a holistic perspective. Exploring and promoting Diversity, Equity and Inclusion means recognizing that exclusion and marginalization is frequently

internalized and even those that propose a better world are unlikely to see their own tendency to exclude or exploit without healthy debate and standing up for all those that are and have been left out or targeted, regardless of the fashion of the day.”

Beyond the academic world, Heather is an accomplished stage actress and vocalist and loves travel, the arts, her friends and family and her Siberian Husky, Maya.

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