Dr. Rajiv Rimal, professor of Health Communication at Johns Hopkins’ Bloomberg School
of Public Health, presented the 10th annual Emil C. Weis Lecture Oct. 5 in Glenn Auditorium.
Rimal is an expert in risk perception and communication. His research focuses on how best to communicate risk information to the public to maximize its effectiveness. He studies how individuals cognitively process health information, particularly information dealing with various risk factors. Rimal's research also focuses on the use of new technologies in health promotion and the influence of societal norms on behaviors.
Rimal holds a doctoral degree from Stanford University. He is chair of the Health Communication Division of the International Communication Association and vice-chair- elect of the Health Communication Division of the National Communication Association. His work has been published in numerous scholarly journals, and he has won several Top-Four and Top-Three Paper Awards in the Health Communication Division at annual conferences of the National Communication Association and the International Communication Association.
He has served on editorial boards for several journals, including Communication Studies, Human Communication Research, Journal of Communication, Communication Monographs and Health Communication. He also serves on the review board of the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) Psychosocial Risk and Disease Prevention Study Section, and he is a former member of the review board of the NIH’s Risk, Prevention, and Health Behavior Study Section.
Emil C. Weis, for whom the distinguished lecture is named, was a professor of speech and English, who earned a bachelor of science degree from the Cape Girardeau Normal School (now Southeast Missouri State University) in 1918. He completed his graduate work at the University of Missouri. He endowed this lectureship at Southeast to provide an opportunity for students, faculty, and “all interested individuals throughout the region,” to interact with a guest speaker who could further an understanding and appreciation of rhetoric and public address.
As a young man, Weis declined overtures from the New York Yankees for what he deemed to be more important work. Instead of a career in baseball, he chose to teach so that he might nurture the speaking and writing abilities of students and clergy.
Weis spent most of his academic career at St. Paul’s College, at Concordia, Mo. He required that his students write and speak often and well. Students he coached in debate won contests throughout Missouri. In addition, his students won state and national championships in American Legion Oratorical Contests.
Weis touched the lives of many, and his influence continues. At Concordia College, the Weis Memorial Gymnasium bears his name. At Concordia, he also coached various athletic programs and served as athletic director.