Healthcare Communication


Research Overview

The healthcare communication group investigates health professional-patient interactions, inter and intra-professional communication, and learner medical discourses to inform health professional education. Our research addresses contemporary issues in healthcare and how these impact on communication including the cultural and linguistic diversity of the health workforce and patients, online health information and health literacy, English language proficiency and screening, and safety and quality of care. We approach our research primarily through qualitative and discourse analytical methods. Our multidisciplinary group includes health professional educators, clinicians, junior doctor researchers, and applied linguists.


Ms Susan Philip, PhD student
Mr Daniel McDonald, PhD student with School of Languages and Linguistics
Ms Samantha Tai, PhD student with Department of Audiology


Department of Medical Education

A/Prof Eleanor Flynn, DME,
A/Prof Clare Delany, DME,
Dr Anna Ryan, DME,
Mr Neville Chiavaroli ,DMC,

University of Melbourne

Professor David Story, Melbourne Medical School , University of Melbourne
Professor John Hajek, Department of Italian, University of Melbourne,
Dr Ute Knoch, Language Testing Research Centre, University of Melbourne
A/Prof Catherine Elder, Language Testing Research Centre, University of Melbourne
Professor Tim McNamara, Language Testing Research Centre, University of Melbourne
Dr Phyllis Lau, Department of General Practice, University of Melbourne

National and International

Professor Elizabeth Manias, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Deakin University
Professor Wendy Hu, University of Western Sydney
Dr Susan Barone, Global Learning and Education, Vanderbilt University
Professor Peter Schulz, Institute for Communication and Health, Università della Svizzera italiana
Professor Diana Slade, International Research Centre for Communication in Healthcare (IRCCH),
University of Technology Sydney;
Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong


2014-2016 Australian Research Council (ARC) Linkage Grant: Towards improved quality of written patient records: language proficiency standards for nonnative speaking health professionals (3yrs). McNamara, Knoch, Woodward-Kron, Elder, Manias, Flynn, Zhang. $242,380,LP130100171.

Let’s talk about medical research: research equity for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) older patients. Ethics and Integrity Development Grant Scheme Woodward-Kron R, Story D, Parker A, Hughson J, Hajek J, Delany, C

Research Outcomes

Some examples of translational healthcare communication multimedia and learning resources from the healthcare communication research group

  1. Reducing complaints about communication in the Emergency Department A communication skills training intervention for junior doctors. Final Report for Postgraduate Medical Council Victoria.
  2. Woodward-Kron, Bow, Flynn, Pill, Fraser (2012) Doctors Speak Up: Communication and Language for International Medical Graduates (funded by Department Health, Victoria), Web resource. (winner 2014 ELTon British Council award, Digital Innovation category.
  3. Woodward-Kron, Flynn, Macqueen, Slade, Widin, Stein-Parbury, Smith, Scheeres, (2011) Communication for Health in Emergency Contexts (CHEC): Teaching and learning resource for Emergency Department Communication. web resource
  4. Woodward-Kron R, Flynn E, Delany C (2009). Clinical communication and ethical practice for International Medical Graduates in Australia. DVD and CD. University of Melbourne for Postgraduate Council of Victoria

Research Publications

McDonald D, Woodward-Kron R. (2016). Member roles and identities in online support groups: perspectives from corpus and systemic functional linguistics. Discourse and Communication, 1-19, DOI: 10.1177/1750481315615985

Woodward-Kron R, Elder C. (appeared online Nov 2015). Authenticity in an English language screening test for clinicians: A comparative discourse study. Language Testing. Special issue. DOI: 10.1177/0265532215607399

Lau P, Woodward-Kron R, Livesay K, Elliott K, Nicholson P. (2016) Cultural respect encompassing simulation training: Being heard about health through broadband. Journal of Public Health Research, 5: 657, 36-42 DOI:

Matta G, Salzberg M, Petty S, Woodward-Kron R Addressing patient experiences of abuse and trauma in the medical interview: challenges for medical education, MJA 205 (6), 2016

Woodward-Kron R. (2016) International Medical Graduates and the discursive patterns of patient-centred care. Language Learning in Higher Education. 6(1).  10.1515/cercles-2016-0012

Woodward-Kron R, Fraser C, Rashid H, Au J, Chua Y, George L. Perspectives of junior doctor intercultural communication: lessons for medical education, Focus on Health Professional Education: A Multi-Disciplinary Journal, Voll.17, No 3, 2016, ISSN 1442-1100

Research Projects

This Research Group doesn't currently have any projects

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact Robyn Woodward-Kron

Department / Centre

Medical Education

Unit / Centre

Medical Education Research

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