New Frontiers series continues with focus on communication

The New Frontiers in Biomedical Research will continue its COVID-19 series with the first lecture in the Spring Quarter. The seminar will focus on Health Communication during COVID-19 Pandemic at 3:30 p.m. CST Monday, March 29, on WebEx. 

Dr. Heidi Y. Lawrence, Associate Professor of English at George Mason University and Scott Barrows, Simulation Programming Manager at Jump Simulations, Clinical Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine at University of Illinois College of Medicine Peoria, and Clinical Assistant Professor in Biomedical Visualization at the University of Illinois at Chicago, will share their recent involvement in written and visual communication related to COVID-19 vaccine education.

Lawrence will share her research on vaccine hesitation among healthcare professionals, rural communities, and minority communities. Specifically, she will share how the concerns over the COVID-19 vaccine parallels those that accompany reluctance to the flu vaccine and effective communication in these situations. Lawrence has studied the rhetoric of medical and scientific controversies, particularly public debates about vaccinations, since 2010 through a range of qualitative interview, survey, and text analysis studies.

In her work on vaccination, Lawrence studies the role that professional communication produced by physicians, health officials, and researchers plays in shaping public debate and parental beliefs about vaccines. Her book on vaccine controversy, Vaccine Rhetorics, is available from The Ohio State University Press, and her work on vaccine communication and education has appeared in the journals: The Journal of Medical Internet Research, Rhetoric of Health and Medicine, Critical Public Health, Journal of the Medical Humanities, the Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine.

Barrows will share with the University community his work in medical visualization and how he has used his skills to share pertinent information about COVID-19. Barrows visited Louisiana Tech in 2018 where he shared his personal history and experiences as a medical illustrator. This year, Barrows will focus on his efforts with a diverse team seeking to improve communication and education in communities across Chicago. 

Barrows is a world-renowned medical artist with illustrations in more than 55 medical books and more than 350 journal articles. His passion for art, medicine, and technology has led him to become a visionary in biomedical imaging and visualization. He was previously Vice-President of Marketing at a biotechnology laboratory in Virginia and Vice-President of Creative at a medical software “think tank” in Nevada. He was also the Director of the Biomedical Visualization graduate program at the University of Illinois at Chicago Medical Center for numerous years and still serves on the adjunct faculty as well as an assistant professor at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas.

An alumnus of three University of Illinois campuses (Chicago, Urbana-Champaign, and Springfield), Barrows has been the recipient of numerous awards, including recognition from two U.S. Presidents, the Smithsonian Institution, and the University of Illinois Chicago. He is the co-creator of age-progression —a process used to find numerous missing children — and his artwork has been featured in galleries, museums, and health facilities around the world.

As with the previous four seminars in this series, each speaker will share their work for 10-15 minutes, leaving 30-45 minutes for questions from those who are attending the live-streamed event. Discussion will be moderated by series organizers Dr. Jamie Newman and Dr. Mary Caldorera-Moore, along with Dr. Kirk St.Amant, Professor of English.  Each of these moderators brings a different perspective and encourages a focus on community health for the university and general public. 

Events are open to the general public, and registration is required. For more information on this and other events, visit