MSU professor contributes to Outstanding Book Award-winning publication

MOREHEAD, Ky. (WTVQ/MSU Public Affairs) – Dr. Elizabeth Spencer, assistant professor of strategic communication for Morehead State University’s School of English, Communication Media and Languages, contributed a chapter to a book that won the National Communication Association’s 2020 Outstanding Book Award.

Spencer’s chapter, “A Narrative Legacy of Family Care-giving,” appeared in the 2019 book “Women’s Narratives of Health Disruption and Illness Within and Across Their Life Stories,” edited by Peter M. Kellett and Jennifer M. Hawkins.

The book, which explores the health complications and illnesses that women experience throughout their lives, won this award in the NCA’s Communication and Aging Division.

“My chapter was an opportunity for me to share the story of being the daughter and caregiver for my mother, who died from early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. She loved to read and my family lineage includes generations of storytellers,” Spencer said. “This is a professional honor to be recognized by aging communication scholars. It is also personally touching since this work is the embodiment of narrative medicine and transformation in action. To me, this is a continuation of the narrative of loss, healing and hope.”

A resident of Lexington and native of Diamond, Missouri, this is Spencer’s first year serving as faculty for MSU.

She earned her Bachelor of Science in Communication, Public Relations emphasis with a minor in Mass Communication from Missouri Southern State University in 2014. She later earned a Master of Arts in Communication in 2015 from Pittsburg State University and a Ph.D. in Communication from the University of Kentucky in 2020.

Her teaching experience includes strategic, organizational, health and interpersonal media. Her research experiences include work on a National Institutes of Health grant to improve the quality of physicians’ end-of-life conversations with patients, research on how physicians communicate the cost of healthcare with their patients, Kentucky newspaper coverage of health, and media messages to prevent opioid abuse in Appalachia.

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