Hua "Helen" Wang


Hua "Helen" Wang.

Hua "Helen" Wang


Hua "Helen" Wang


Director of Graduate Studies

Scholarly Interests

Entertainment-education, social and behavior change communication (SBCC), health promotion, intervention design, program evaluation.


Dr. Helen Wang works with women, youth, ethnic minorities, immigrants, refugees, and other underserved communities around the world to address complex issues such as sexual and reproductive health and gender-based violence. Her work leverages innovative strategies through powerful storytelling, emerging technologies, and communication networks for health promotion and social change. Her collaborative projects have been supported by funders such as the National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, National Science Foundation, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. And her interdisciplinary research has been published in high-impact journals (e.g., Communication Research, Computers in Human Behavior, Journal of Medical Internet Research, American Journal of Public Health, Frontiers in Psychiatry) and received prestigious awards from the International Communication Association and the American Public Health Association.

Educational Background

  • PhD, University of Southern California
  • MA, San Diego State University
  • BA, Peking University, Beijing, China

Recent Courses

  • COM 360: Social Network Analysis
  • COM 466: Entertainment to Change the World
  • COM 629: Entertainment-Education for Health Promotion and Social Change
  • COM 682: Audience Analysis and Program Evaluation

Current Research

  • Mental health portrayal in popular entertainment media
  • MetaHumans for public engagement and deeper learning
  • Co-edited book on storytelling to accelerate climate solutions 

Selected Publications

* student co-author

Wang, H., Yue, Z.*, & S, D.* (2023). Challenges with using popular entertainment to address mental health: A content analysis of Netflix series 13 Reasons Why controversy in mainstream news coverage. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 14,

Wang, H., Safer, D. L., Cosentino, M., Cooper, R., Van Susteren, L., Coren, E., Nosek, G., Lertzman, R., & Sutton, S. (2023). Coping with eco-anxiety: An interdisciplinary perspective for collective learning and strategic communication. The Journal of Climate Change and Health, 9, 100211,

Wang, H., Gupta, S.*, Singhal, A., Muttreja, P., Singh, S., Sharma, P., & Piterova, A. (2022). An artificial intelligence chatbot for young people’s sexual and reproductive health in India (SnehAI): Instrumental case study. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 24(1), e29969,

Wang, H., & Parris, J.* (2021). Popular media as a double-edged sword: An entertainment narrative analysis of the controversial Netflix series 13 Reasons Why. PLoS ONE, 16(8), e0255610,

Wang, H., & Singhal, A. (2016). East Los High: Transmedia edutainment to promote the sexual and reproductive health of young Latina/o Americans. American Journal of Public Health, 106, 1002-1010,