Lisa Keränen is an associate professor and Chair of the Department of Communication at the University of Colorado Denver, where she has also been named a University President’s Teaching Scholar.

Her research and teaching concern the rhetoric of health and medicine, a growing interdisciplinary field of study that examines how discourses about health and medicine structure meaning and understanding of health and illness, including policy and identity.

You might say she is a communication scholar who sometimes wishes she were a doctor.

Her first book, Scientific Characters: Rhetoric, Politics, and Trust in Breast Cancer Research (2010, University of Alabama Press), examined how trust and perceptions of character made a difference to the understandings, meanings, and policy results of federally-funded breast cancer research during a high-profile controversy involving allegations of misconduct in the nation’s premier breast cancer treatment research. The book received the 2011 Marie Hochmuth Nichols Award for Outstanding Scholarship from the Public Address Division of the National Communication Association.

Keränen also received the 2010 Karl R. Wallace Memorial Research Award from the National Communication Association. Her essays on topics related to the rhetoric of health and medicine and bioterrorism appear in venues such as Academic MedicineArgumentation & Advocacy, the Health Humanities Readerthe Journal of Medical HumanitiesRhetoric & Public Affairs, and the Quarterly Journal of Speech.

During the past decade, because of a longstanding BA program her Department runs at the International College Beijing at China Agricultural University, China has begun to permeate her work and teaching. She and her scholarly traveling companions/colleagues have just published an edited book with Michigan State University Press called Imagining China: Rhetorics of Nationalism in an Age of Globalization (2017).

A transplanted east coaster, Keränen has worked at the University of Colorado since 2003. Her graduate degrees include an MA in Bioethics and a PhD in Communication from the University of Pittsburgh, where she completed clinical ethics practica at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

Keränen currently serves on the editorial boards of 6 scholarly journals and is past President of the Association for the Rhetoric of Science, Technology, and Medicine.

Image Credit:  Hiné Mizushima, “Cephalopod Anatomy Class,” Flickr, creative commons license, 2015.