Publication Date

Fall 2019

Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Angela Jerome (Director), Helen Sterk and Jieyoung Kong

Degree Program

Department of Communication

Degree Type

Master of Arts


The hepatitis A crisis in Kentucky is unprecedented compared to other states. With thousands of hospitalizations and over 60 deaths in the state of Kentucky alone, there is a need to evaluate the government’s response to the hepatitis A virus (HAV) epidemic. Therefore, the instructional risk communication messages that are being conveyed by the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services (KCHFS) are instrumental in the education and action plans of Kentuckians who are at risk of contracting HAV.

This study utilizes the IDEA Model Thematic Analysis Codebook as a guide to analyze the KCHFS’ risk communication regarding the hepatitis A crisis, identifying the strengths and weaknesses of its campaign. Through this research, I identify the weaknesses in the KCHFS’ risk communication campaign including: the need to focus on a more general audience, the need to foreground all facets of the IDEA model on its website, the need to promote the vaccination of the HAV more strongly, and the need to make the website more user-friendly for all populations.


Business Administration, Management, and Operations | Business and Corporate Communications | Diseases | Health Communication | Mass Communication