Background to the International Research Centre for the Advancement of Health Communication (IRCAHC)


Hong Kong PolyU first established a health communication research centre in 2013. This was a cross-faculty and cross-university collaboration between The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) and the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS) and a strategic partnership with Curtin University, Western Australia. Following the initial focus on hospital-based research, PolyU decided to expand the scope of the centre's work and in 2017 Professor Watson was appointed Director of the renamed International Research Centre for the Advancement of Health Communication (IRCAHC).


IRCAHC was established with a broader focus of work and is firmly embedded within the local health care context as well as the international academic community. Since 2017 IRCAHC has developed and delivered a range of education and training events that have attracted researchers and clinicians. This networking is important because as health care and population health needs become more complex, health communication research must be expanded to look in detail at what happens inside and outside hospital sites.


Since 2017 the work of IRCAHC has featured a significant expansion of theoretical approaches and research domains for studying health communication in Asia. This has included a focus on the social psychology of language in health communication, the role of organisations, groups and individuals in negotiating patient care as well as the links between community and hospital care. This shift in focus towards health policy, organizational structures and community-based care has already contributed insights into contemporary health challenges and issues in the community and hospital settings across the Asia Pacific Region.