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
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.
communication, and contending with heteronormativity: An invitation to
greater reflexivity in interpersonal research" (2008). Southern Communication Journal, 73, 84-101.
- "Desiring dialectical discourse: A feminist ponders the transition to motherhood" (2005). 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.
"Better Communication, Better Care" DePaul Distinctions.