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Connecting Dots

Fan ("Ellie") Yang, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Welcome! I am an incoming Assistant Professor at the School of Communication of Illinois State University. I got my Ph.D. degree from the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Advised by Prof. Dhavan Shah, I conduct research that focuses on optimizing media technology and message effects for strategic communication to improve the well-being of vulnerable populations. By applying computational and conventional approaches, I observe digital communication patterns among the targeted populations and provide insight into strategy-making tailored for behavior change. 


My work has been published in the New Media & Society, International Journal of Communication, Journal of Health Communication, BMC Medical Informatics and Decision MakingChinese Journal of Communication, Journal of Geovisualization and Spatial Analysis, and Journal of General Internal Medicine, among others. I have received numerous awards, including top paper awards from the Mass Communication Division of the National Communication Association (NCA) and the Political Communication Division of the International Communication Association (ICA).

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Research Interests

I am passionate about understanding the supportive effects of media technology and message framing on well-being. My abiding theoretical focus is on how message framing shapes information processing and decision-making, and how the affordances of technology shape user experiences, usage patterns, and social outcomes.

Specifically, most of my recent work centers on using e-health, m-health, and social media to enhance the quality of life among vulnerable populations. My dissertation introduced a novel framework for studying health support systems in the context of substance use disorders (SUD). It brings together work on social integration, technology affordances, mobile telephony, and self-determination theory to examine how patterns of mobile health (mHealth) SUD support system relate to recovery outcomes.


Selected Publications

Yang, E. F,  Shah, D. V., Tahk, A., Cody, O., Dietz, S., Pe-Romashko, K., Bailey, E., Gicquelais, R., Hwang, J., Gustafson, D., & Westergaard, R. (2023). mHealth and social mediation: Mobile support among stigmatized people living with HIV and substance use disorders. New Media & Society, 25(4), 702-731.

Yang, E. F. & Yang, S. (2023). Effects of moral frames within vaping prevention messages on current smokers’ support for electronic cigarette regulations. Journal of Health Communication, DOI: 10.1080/10810730.2023.2217104.

Wang, S. Q., Ning, H., Huang, X., Xiao, Y., Zhang, M., Yang, E. F., Sadahiro, Y., Liu, Y., Ling, Z. L., Hu, T., Fu, X. K., Li, Z., & Zeng, Y. (2023). Public surveillance of social media for suicide using advanced deep learning models in Japan: Time series study from 2012 to 2022. Journal of Medical Internet Research.

Yang, E. F., Shah, D. V., Burnside, E. S., Little, T. A., Garino, N., & Campbell, C. E. (2020). Framing the clinical encounter: Shared decision-making, mammography screening, and decision satisfaction. Journal of Health Communication, 25, 681-691

Yang, E. F. & Du, Y. R. (2016). Storytelling in the age of big data: Hong Kong students’ readiness and attitude towards data journalism. Asia Pacific Media Educator, 26(2), 148-162.

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