Jennifer Vardeman - University of Houston
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Faculty Bio

Jennifer Vardeman

Director, Associate Professor
Office: Communication Bldg

Jennifer Vardeman, Ph.D., conducts research in public relations in the public health and healthcare field. Specifically, she investigates how women make decisions about healthcare options, and how both interpersonal contact and mass media affect their decisions. Additionally, Dr. Vardeman takes an intersectional approach in exploring aspects of the public relations field, mainly around the gender and racial inequalities in the composition of the workforce. She’s published more than 25 articles and chapters on topics of public relations, public health communication, and intersectionality.

Dr. Vardeman is the director of the Valenti School, an affiliate faculty member of UH’s Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies, and currently serves as a visiting scientist with Houston Methodist Hospital’s Urogynecology Associates. She runs a research lab of communication and pre-med students from multiple universities as they determine how women from different backgrounds make healthcare decisions regarding pelvic floor health. For another health communication project, she currently is a member of the Engaging Communities of Hispanics/Latinos for Aging Research Network, a project supported by the National Institute on Aging.

As a former public relations professional, Dr. Vardeman has worked, taught, and consulted in the public relations field for 22+ years, previously working for firms such as Weber-Shandwick (Houston, TX), Lois Paul & Partners, a Fleishman-Hilliard company (Austin, TX), and ICF International (Rockville, MD). Her clients over the years have varied greatly in size and industry from global giants like IBM Software, Motorola Semiconductors, and Compaq Computers, to local start-ups like Expeditrix and Tantau Software. In the public health sector, she conducted communication research and strategic planning for federal government agencies like the Food and Drug Administration, Environmental Protection Agency, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Radiological Studies Branch, as well as local community health organizations and hospitals, like Baylor Teen Health Clinics and Texas Medical Center Health Policy Institute. She’s also provided communication work for public sector agencies and nonprofit organizations such as the American Red Cross, Department of Homeland Security’s Citizen Corps, and Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs.



  • Ph.D. and M.A. in communication from the University of Maryland at College Park
  • B.S. in public relations from the University of Texas at Austin 


  • Issues Management
  • Seminar in Crisis Communication
  • Public Relations Theory
  • Public Relations Management
  • Principles of Public Relations
  • Critical and Cultural Public Relations
  • Strategic Entrepreneurial Communication

Selected Publications 

  • Vardeman, J., & Sebesta, A. (2020). The problem of intersectionality as an approach to digital activism: the Women’s March on Washington’s attempt to unite all women. Journal of Public Relations Research, DOI: 10.1080/1062726X.2020.1716769
  • Place, K., & Vardeman-Winter, J. (2018). Where are the women? An examination of the status of research on women and leadership in public relations. Public Relations Review, 44, 165-173.
  • Vardeman-Winter, J., & Place, K. (2017). Still a lily-white field of women: The state of workforce diversity in public relations practice and research.   Public Relations Review, 43,  326-336.
  • Vardeman-Winter, J. (2017). The framing of women and health disparities: A critical look at race, gender, and class from the perspectives of grassroots health communicators.   Health Communication,  32, 629-638. DOI: 10.1080/10410236.2016.1160318
  • Vardeman-Winter, J. (2015). "Navigation and grounded communication: Grassroots strategies for public relations practitioners working with underserved communities." In R. Waters (Ed.),   Public Relations in the Nonprofit Sector: Theory and Practice  (pp. 124-140). Routledge New Directions in Public Relations and Communication Research series.
  • Vardeman-Winter, J. (2014). Issues of representation, reflexivity, and research-participant relationships: Doing feminist cultural studies to improve health campaigns.   Public Relations Inquiry, 3(1), 91-111.
  • Vardeman-Winter, J., Jiang, H., & Tindall, N. T. J. (2014). "'Mammography at age 40 to 49 saves lives, just not enough of them': Gendered political intersections in communicating breast cancer screening policy to publics." In C. Daymon & K. Demetrious (Eds.), Gender and public relations: Critical perspectives on voice, image and identity (pp. 221-246). New York: Routledge New Directions in Public Relations and Communication Research series.
  • Vardeman-Winter, J., Jiang, H., & Tindall, N. T. J. (2013). Information-seeking outcomes of representational, structural, and political intersectionality among health media consumers.   Journal of Applied Communication Research, 41(4), 389-411.
  • Vardeman-Winter, J. E. (2012). Medicalization and teen girls' bodies in the Gardasil cervical cancer vaccine campaign. Feminist Media Studies, 12(2), 281-304.
  • Vardeman-Winter, J. (2011). Confronting Whiteness in public relations campaigns and research with women. Journal of Public Relations Research, 23(4), 412-441.
  • Vardeman-Winter, J. & Tindall, N. T. J. (2011). Editorial: The current climate on publics segmentation research: Publics at a nexus of multiple identities and digitisation.   PRism Journal, 8(2):
  • Vardeman-Winter, J. & Tindall, N. T. J. (2010). "If it's a woman's issue, I pay attention to it": Gendered and intersectional complications in The Heart Truth media campaign. PRism 7(4), 1-15,
  • Vardeman, J. E., & Aldoory, L. (2008). A qualitative study of how women make meaning of contradictory media messages about the risks of eating fish. Health Communication, 23, 282-291.


  • Participant. (2018-2019). Institute for Diverse Leadership in Mass Communication. Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication.
  • Teaching Excellence Award, Valenti School of Communication, 2017.
  • Class of 2017 Member.  Cougar Chair’s Leadership Academy. University of Houston.
  • Vardeman-Winter, J. E. (2017). The University of Houston Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies Program and the Friends of Women’s Studies’ Faculty Summer Stipend for 2017. The stipend funded a project titled, “Women’s perceptions of pelvic floor disorders communication."
  • Kopenhaver Center Fellow.  Lillian Lodge Kopenhaver Center for the Advancement of Women in Communication, School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the Florida International University and the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication's Commission on the Status of Women.
  • Class of 2014 Member.  Seventh annual Scripps Howard Academic Leadership Academy. Louisiana State University's Manship School of Mass Communication.
  • Arthur W. Page Legacy Scholar for the Arthur W. Page Center at Penn State University, 2013—2014, for a project titled, "Ethics and Health Public Relations."
  • Principal Investigator for a grant with the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs titled, "Affordable Multifamily Housing Primer," September, 2013 – August, 2014.
  • University of Houston's Women's Studies Program and the Friends of Women's Studies' Faculty Summer Stipend recipient for 2010. Funding for a project titled, "Identifying intersectionality within women's perceptions of the new screening guidelines for breast and cervical cancers."
  • Mary Gardner Award for Graduate Student Research by Commission on the Status of Women in the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication