Renée A. Botta (Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1998) is an associate professor of global health and development communication in the Department of Media, Film and Journalism Studies. She has spent more than a decade working in various countries in Africa to improve health outcomes through health promotion and participatory communication.
Her research focuses on communication in WASH projects and HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment, and includes health behavior change, health promotion campaigns, international and intercultural health communication, and family and peer communication about health and about health messages.
She is particularly interested in developing participatory communication models tailored to the local socio-cultural context. She is also interested in the motivational role income generating activities and community driven social innovation play in sustaining behavior change and in sustaining health outcomes.
Botta studied communication about HIV and AIDS as a Fulbright Scholar in Zambia in 2003. Since that time, she has continued to study health communication and behavior change in a number of countries including Zambia, Kenya, South Africa, Ghana, Rwanda, Botswana, and the United States. For the past 7 years, she has also focused on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) in Kenya.
She teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in health communication, international and intercultural communication, and strategic communication.
Selected recent publications:
Refereed Journal Publications:
Botta, R. A. (in press). Media Dependency and attitudes toward condom use in Zambia. Journal of Communication and Media Research.
Rudd, J., Bracken, C. C., Botta, R. A., & Pask, E. B. (2015) Viewing Television Violence: Comparing Presence Sensations Among Victims and Non-Victims of Family Violence. Journal of Communication and Media Research, 7(1).
Botta, R.A. (2020) Love, Sex, Money: Gender and Economic Inequality in HIV Edutainment Programming in Kenya. In Erika Polson, Lynn Schofield Clark, and Radhika Gajjala(Eds.) The Routledge Companion to Media and Class.
Botta, R. A. (in press) A Stone Left Unturned: The Necessity of Participatory Communication and Indigenous Knowledge for Successful Development Projects. In Patrick Ngulube (Eds.), Handbook of Indigenous Knowledge Systems Research in Developing Nations. IGI Global.
Botta, R. A., Fenson-Hood, K., Scandurra, L., & Muasya, R. (2018). A Campaign to sustain hand washing behaviors in an urban informal settlement in Kenya. In Claudia Parvanta (Ed.), Public Health Communication. Burlington MA: Jones & Bartlett.
Kochanova, M. and Botta, R.A. (2017) “We Don’t Want to Know”: HIV from a Cultural Perspective. In Athena du Pre and Eileen Berlin Ray (eds.) Case Studies: Real-Life Scenarios in Health Communication. Oxford University Press.
Fenson-Hood, K and Botta, R. A. (2016) Changing Water Treatment Behaviors using Theory of Planned Behavior: Applying a Western-Based Theory in the Developing World. Lambert Academic Publishing.