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Associate ProfessorThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
University Hall 5038
(205) 934-8600

Research and Teaching Interests: Rhetoric and composition, professional writing, medical discourse

Office Hours: By appointment


  • Ph.D., Purdue University, Rhetoric and Composition

The courses I teach in the department engage students in two aspects of discourse:

  1. examining institutional and social values that influence what we think and communicate in our culture (about health and illness, politics, science, and so on), and
  2. contributing to institutional discourse in a way that accommodates those values that we support and that challenges those we do not.

My research interests include representations of health and illness in the popular media, as well as messages about science in both research journals and public-facing forums. My work has appeared in journals including Rhetoric of Health and Medicine, Journal of Medical Humanities, and JAMA: Journal of the American Medical Association. I have also co-edited two books: City Comp: Identities, Spaces, and Practices (SUNY, 2003) and The Rhetoric of Health and Medicine As/Is: Theories and Approaches for the Field (Ohio State UP, 2020). My work appears regularly in publications including the Los Angeles Times and Cancer Today.

  • Recent Courses
    • Editing in Professional Contexts
    • Writing in Popular Periodicals
    • Writing and Medicine
    • Study Away courses: Writing Science, Medicine and Culture in Nepal; Creating a Culture of Sustainability in Iceland; Rhetoric of Sustainability in the Netherlands
  • Select Publications

    Books and Book chapters

    • The Rhetoric of Medicine As/Is: Theories and Approaches for the Field. (2020). Co-edited with Lisa Meloncon, S. Scott Graham, Jennell Johnson. John A. Lynch. Ohio State UP.
    • Cynthia Ryan and Bruce McComiskey, eds., City Comp: Identities, Spaces, Practices (SUNY Press, 2003).
    • “‘Get More From Your Life on the Land’: Negotiating Rhetorics of Progress and Tradition in a Neoliberal Environment,” in Reclaiming the Rural: Essays on Literacy, Rhetoric, and Pedagogy, Kim Donehower, Charlotte Hogg, and Eileen E. Schell, eds. (Southern Illinois Press, 2011): 52-73.

    Articles and Other Pieces

    • "The Alabama Project: Representing the Complexity of Cancer Survivorship in Words and Images." Rhetoric of Health and Medicine 1 (3-4), 372-395.
    • Cynthia Ryan and Cathleen Cummings, "Reimagining Contexts: Art, Authenticity, and Identity Among Female Artisans in India,” Journal of Poverty 18 (No. 1, 2014): 30-49.
    • “India’s Rural Divide,” Cancer Today 3 (Winter 2013/2014): 38-43.
    • “Forever Young,” Cancer Today 3 (Spring 2013): 50-55.
    • “Homeless with Cancer,” CR Magazine 5 (Fall 2010): 30-37.
    • Co-Curator, Objects of Authority: Contemporary Embroideries from Western Gujarat (AEIVA, 2014).
    • Co-Producer, The Alabama Project Traveling Exhibit (2013-ongoing).
    • Essays appearing in publications including Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Salon.com, USA Today, Cancer Today.
  • Academic Distinctions and Professional Societies
    • Founder, Street Smarts™ Breast Cancer Education Program for Homeless Women
    • Odessa Woolfolk Community Service Award, 2014
    • Sam Brown Bridge Builder Award, 2013
    • President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, 2013
    • Clarion Award for Magazine Feature Writing, 2011
    • Contributing Writer, Cancer Today, published by the American Association for Cancer Research
    • Member, Conference on College Composition and Communication (and Medical Rhetoric Special Interest Group), National Council of Teachers of English, Modern Language Society
  • Student Groups
    • Director of Internships, Department of English
    • Faculty Advisor, Global Medical Brigades