DePaul University College of Communication > Faculty & Staff > Faculty > Elissa Foster

Elissa Foster

  • efoste10@depaul.edu
  • Associate Professor, Director of MA Health Communication Program
  • ​​​PhD (University of South Florida)
  • Health Communication Graduate
  • (312) 362-8954
  • ​​​14 E. Jackson Blvd., Room 1818​​​
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After graduating with her PhD from the University of South Florida, Elissa Foster held faculty appointments at the University of Texas at San Antonio and San Jose State University. Foster joined the faculty of the College of Communication from the Department of Family Medicine at Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) in Pennsylvania (with an appointment of Associate Professor in the College of Medicine at the University of South Florida, LVHN’s university affiliate). In the Department of Family Medicine, she served as the Director of Education and Program Evaluation supporting graduate medical education through research and faculty development activities.

In 2012, she received the Asclepius Award for Excellence in Teaching in Family Medicine from the graduating residents at LVHN. She was attracted to DePaul by the opportunity to help develop a strongly applied graduate program in health communication that draws strong connections between research and improving the quality of healthcare.

Foster was the 2007 recipient of the Janice Hocker Rushing Early Career Research Award from the Southern States Communication Association. Her principle areas of research are health communication and interpersonal relationships with special interests in communication at the end-of-life and at the beginning of life, and a passion for qualitative research methods.

Her book, Communicating at the End of Life (Erlbaum, 2007) won the 2009 Distinguished Scholarly Book Award from the Applied Communication Division of NCA. She has also published book chapters and peer-reviewed articles on a variety of topics including marital conflict, motherhood, spirituality in health care, and medical education. Her research can be found in Qualitative Inquiry, the Journal of Ageing and Identity, Women's Studies in Communication, the Southern Communication Journal, and Family Medicine.

Foster is passionate about health care and is thrilled to be able to teach, research, and help build relationships between the academy and health care professionals. As a citizen of Australia, she brings an international perspective to understanding the health care industry (as well as an interesting accent to the classes she teaches). She is the proud mother of a precocious toddler and will never pass up an opportunity to tell a story about Aria Joy’s adventures.

Select Publications

"My eyes cry without me: Illusions of choice and control in the transition to motherhood." In S. Hayden and L. O’Brien Hallstein (Eds.) Contemplating maternity: Discourses of Choice and Control (pp. 139-158). Lanham, MA: Lexington Press.


Women’s Studies in Communication, 28, 57-83.

Performing the “Really Real:” Cultural criticism, representation, and commodification in The Laramie Project (with Jay Baglia, 2005). Journal of Dramatic Theory and Criticism, 19(2), 127-145.

"Storm tracking: Scenes of marital disintegration" (2002). Qualitative Inquiry, 8, 804-819.

"Lessons we learned: Stories of volunteer-patient communication in hospice" (2002). Journal of Aging and Identity, 7, 245-256.​

Media

​"Better Communication, Better Care"​ DePaul Distinctions.​