UGA advertising professors receive research grants

Dr. Sun Joo (Grace) Ahn
Two first-year UGA professors in the Department of Advertising and Public Relations received junior faculty grants from the UGA Research Foundation to help further their research on the impact of technology and media in healthy behavior and lifestyle choices.

Dr. Sun Joo (Grace) Ahn, an assistant professor of advertising, received $10,700 from the UGA Research Foundation to study how virtual reality technology can be used to promote healthy behaviors such as smart food choices.

"Virtual reality technology has tremendous potential to help promote desirable attitudes and behaviors in a variety of health contexts," Dr. Ahn said. "In particular, this grant will help initiate a robust research program that investigates the effectiveness of virtual reality interventions in response to the growing problem of obesity that plagues the nation." 

Dr. Joe Phua
Dr. Joe Phua, an assistant professor of advertising, received $10,000 for his research on a project titled, "Audience Expectations for Sources of Health Messages in Public Service Announcements: An Examination of the Georgia 'Stop Childhood Obesity' Campaign," which examines viewers' behavioral intentions in regards to healthy diets after viewing the 'Stop the Obesity' campaign.
"Childhood obesity is a major health issue in the state of Georgia, particularly among minority populations, so I hope that my project will help to advance scholarly understanding of how we can more effectively design advertising messages that can positively influence people in Georgia to develop more healthy eating habits," Dr. Phua said.
In addition to his Research Foundation junior faculty grant, Dr. Phua also received a $2,000 Research in Diversity Seed Grant for a study titled, "Online Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) Intervention Training Curriculum for Korean-American Clergy: A Pilot Study." The project, which is co-investigated with Dr. Yoon Joon Choi, an assistant professor in UGA's School of Social Work, will allow the researchers to develop and test an online training curriculum for Korean-American clergy, trying to understand their knowledge, attitude, beliefs and behaviors regarding their responses to domestic violence in their congregations. The study will help advance scholarly understanding regarding effectiveness of online intimate partner violence and intervention training using social media and Web 2.0 features, Dr. Phua said.
"In Web 2.0, social media is a powerful tool that can be harnessed to enact positive social change," Dr. Phua said. "This project has important practical implications for helping to curb domestic violence, a serious social problem that affects many American families, regardless of their race, gender or social status." To find out more about the research of Dr. Ahn and Dr. Phua, check out their faculty profiles here and here.

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