Sang-Hwa Oh

Sang-Hwa Oh
Assistant Professor in Advertising
237 Gregory Hall
  • PhD, University South Carolina (Mass Communications/Public Health)
  • MA, Sogang University (Mass Communications)
  • BA, Ewha Womans University (Social Welfare/Mass Communications)
  • Assistant Professor of Advertising
  • Institute of Communications Research
  • Illinois Informatics
Course Specialties
  • Public Relations Strategies*
  • Persuasion and Consumer Response*
  • Social Media and Personal Branding
  • Graduate Seminar I*
  • Graduate Seminar II

* made the List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent by Their Students


Dr. Oh is an interdisciplinary researcher, teacher, and consultant for societal- and individual-levels of wellbeing via innovative communications and media strategies. Her research delves deep into the realms of emerging media effects, encompassing AI and VR technologies, and scrutinizes the dissemination of health and risk misinformation. Dr. Oh is fervently dedicated to enhancing media literacy and understanding the nuanced roles that varying emotions play in the communication processes essential for promoting public health and initiating positive social change.

Recently, she has honed her focus on fostering an informed public discourse, empowering individuals and communities to navigate health crises with resilience and informed judgement. Through a multidisciplinary lens, her latest investigations seek effective strategies to mitigate the challenges posed by public health and safety emergencies, such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dr. Oh served as the Faculty Chair of the Public Relations Minor Program and currently holds the position of Faculty Advisor for the Korean Student Association (KSA) at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). Prior to joining UIUC, she enriched the academic community at Appalachian State University, serving as an Assistant Professor for two years. Before embarking on her academic career, Dr. Oh lent her expertise to Samsung iMarketKorea, a leading B2B marketplace in the early to mid-2000s, excelling for five years as a Strategic Planning and Communication Manager.


2021: Best Research Paper, 2nd place, Global Colloquium, Korea Advertising Society (KAS), Korea.

2016: Rainbow Top Research Paper Award, Korea Health Communication Association.

2015: Red Raider Public Relations Research Award, International Public Relations Research Conference.

2014: Outstanding Graduate Student Research Award, University of South Carolina.

2011: Third-Place Award, Communicating Science, Health, Environment, and Risk Division, 94th annual conference of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication.

Research/Creative Endeavor

Dr. Oh’s research specializes in health, risk, science communication, particularly in the context of infectious disease outbreaks. Specific areas of research include: 

  1. Analyzing public health emergency discussions on social media. 
  2. Investigating how media influences public understanding and behaviors at both individual and policy levels. 
  3. Countering misinformation in public health crises through media interventions.
  4. Advancing media literacy to mitigate health and information inequity.
  5. Enhancing transparent risk management in organizations using emerging communication technologies.

Dr. Oh’s work inherently possesses an interdisciplinary nature, combining insights from diverse fields including but not limited to communication, media effects, public relations, public health, sociology, and computational analysis. This approach facilitates a comprehensive view of public responses to public health and safety emergencies.

At present, her ongoing research is addressing critical issues including the influence of cultural perspectives, multifaceted risk perception, and differential emotions on responses to health crises, racial disparities in COVID-19 pandemic, mental health ramifications during the pandemic, the significance of transparent communication in mitigating misinformation, and strategies to bolster critical thinking in the face of misinformation.

Dr. Oh serves on the editorial board of Health Communication and The Korean Journal of Advertising and Public Relations. Her research has been published in esteemed journals such as Health Communication, "Risk Analysis, Mass Communication & Society, International Journal of Communication, and Public Understanding of Science, among other prestigious journals in her research field. Additionally, she acted as a reviewer for the National Science Foundation (NSF). 

Select Publications

Kim, S.-H., Oh, S.-H., Zain, A., Heo, Y, & Jun, J. (accepted for publication). Transition from idealized science to culture of skepticism in South Korea: Micro-level evidence for the two-culture model of public understanding of science. International Journal of Public Opinion Research.

Yoo, WH., Hong, YS., & Oh, S.-H. (2023). Communication inequalities in the COVID-19 pandemic: socioeconomic differences and preventive behaviors in the United States and South Korea. BMC Public Health 23 (1), 1290.

Yoo, WH., & Oh, S.-H. (2023). The Effects of Social Determinants of Health on COVID-19-Preventive Behavioral Intention in South Korea and the United States: Mediating Role of Health Communication. Korean Advertising Studies.

Kim, L#., & Oh, S.-H+ (2023). Predicting Telephone Anxiety: Use of Digital Communication Technologies, Language and Cultural Barriers, and Phone Avoidance. Communication Research Reports

Yoo, WH., Oh, S.-H., & Kim, T. (2023). How Social Media Exposure Influences Preventive Behavioral Intention during the COVID-19 Outbreak in South Korea: A Communication Mediation Model Approach. Journal of Creative Communications. 18 (2), 166-182.

Yoo, WH., Oh, S.-H., & Chio, D-H. (2023). Exposure to COVID-19 Misinformation across Instant Messaging Apps: Moderating Roles of News Media and Interpersonal Communication. International Journal of Communication, 17, 712-734. 

Oh, S.-H+., Lee, Cj., & Park, SH#. (2022). Trust matters: The effect of social media use on public health policy support through (mis)beliefs in the context of HPV vaccination. Health Communication.  Published online ahead of print.

Oh, S.-H+., Lee, S-Y#., & Han, CH#. (2021). The effects of social media use on preventive behaviors during infectious disease outbreaks: The mediating role of self-relevant emotions and public risk perception. Health Communication, 36(8), 972-981. *Listed as the 2nd most cited article during the past three years in Health Communication. 

Ham C-D., Chung, UC#., Kim, WJ#., Lee, SY#., & Oh, S.-H. (2021). Greener than others? Exploring generational differences in green perceptions and purchase intentions of the US consumer: Consumer socialization and social intelligence perspectives. International Journal of Market Research, 64(3), 376-396.

Lim, HJ, Oh, S.-H., Kim Y., & Kim, J.-N. (2019). Activists and their communicative behaviors for effective crisis communication in the age of social media. Asian Journal of Public Relation, 3(1), 1-14.  

# high school student, undergraduate student, graduate student or post-doctoral student

+ corresponding author