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Chelsea Ratcliff

Assistant Professor

Contact Info

604 Caldwell Hall

Chelsea Ratcliff is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication Studies at UGA. She uses empirical research methods to address pressing questions in ComSHER (Communicating Science, Health, Environment, and Risk), especially questions about how to effectively convey complex and uncertain scientific evidence to diverse audiences. 

Current projects of the Communicating Uncertain Science to the Public (CUSP) Lab include examining the social, ethical, and psychological consequences of approaches to communicating uncertainty in health contexts (e.g., vaccines, COVID-19, climate change). Dr. Ratcliff draws on a decade of professional experience in health journalism and marketing to inform her research. Her work has been published in Communication ResearchHuman Communication Research, Science Communication, Public Understanding of Science, Risk Analysis, Annals of Behavioral Medicine, and American Journal of Public Health, among others. You can learn more about Dr. Ratcliff's CUSP Lab here.

Dr. Ratcliff's areas of expertise include:

  • News coverage of health science
  • Public understanding of science
  • Message effects
  • Mass media health campaign design
  • Psychological reactance & resistance to persuasion
  • Ethical and social consequences of communication

PhD (Communication, University of Utah)

MA (Communication, University of Utah)

Selected Publications:

- Research on public understanding of scientific preprints featured in UGA Columns

- Scoping review on COVID-19 uncertainty communication published with students Rebekah Wicke and Blue Harvill in the Annals of the ICA

- Study of how public audiences evaluate media representations of uncertain science with graduate student Rebekah Wicke published in Public Understanding of Science

- Awarded a top faculty paper award with MA student Rebekah Wicke from the Communicating Science, Health, Environment & Risk (comSHER) division of the Association for Education in Journalism & Mass Communication, for the paper "How Lay Audiences Evaluate Scientific Uncertainty Disclosure: The Moderating Roles of Source and Preference for Communication of Uncertainty."

- Research featured in an editorial from Annals of Behavioral Medicine about the importance of examining communication of uncertainty in precision medicine.

Courses Regularly Taught:
Personal Website:
Articles Featuring Chelsea Ratcliff

Congratulations to Dr. Chelsea Ratcliff, whose research is highlighted in UGA Today! 

Read the Article

My Graduate Students

Clay Cook

Graduate Student

Malek Sebri

Graduate Student

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