Beth Hoffman

  • Assistant Professor
  • Faculty in Behavioral and Community Health Sciences

My research focuses on popular media and health, with a particular focus on using media for health promotion and education. Specifically, I focus on the portrayal of health topics on popular television programs, the use of media for health education (also known as entertainment education), and health misinformation on social media. Much of my research uses mixed-methods —including quantitative, qualitative, and social network analyses—and participatory research methods. Past research projects of mine include examining the influence on viewers of the aging storyline on This Is Us, qualitative analysis of Twitter messages and focus groups with adolescents around vaping-lung disease storylines on popular medical dramas, and qualitative and social network analyses of anti-vaccine rhetoric on Facebook and Twitter. Currently, I am serving as a Co-Investigator on a study examining anti-fat bias on popular television programs and an NIH-funded study examining nicotine and tobacco misinformation on youth-oriented social media platforms. I teach undergraduate and graduate courses on community health and am part of several community-academic partnerships aimed at mentoring and improving STEM education for young people in Pittsburgh. I frequently am invited to give talks and media interviews about my research, including appearing in a 2020 documentary on the Hulu streaming service about anti-vaccine misinformation on social media. I am also a Pitt Cyber affiliate faculty and a member of the Pitt Disinformation Lab. 

Education

2022 University of Pittsburgh School of Public Health, Pittsburgh, PA
PhD, Behavioral and Community Health Sciences

2019 University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health, Pittsburgh, PA
MPH, Behavioral and Community Health Sciences

2007 Brown University, Providence, RI
BSc, Human Biology

Selected Publications