Katherine Rafferty

Office:354 Carver
411 Morrill Rd
Ames IA
Courses Taught
Communication Studies 102: Introduction to Interpersonal Communication
Communication Studies 218: Conflict Management
Communication Studies 301: Human Communication Theory
Communication Studies 404: Research Seminar

Research Areas
My research interests lie at the intersection of interpersonal and health communication, with a focus on how patients and families manage and cope with chronic illness and end-of-life care. I am primarily a qualitative scholar, but I have also used quantitative methods to examine my research. For my dissertation, I developed a grounded theory to understand how parental caregivers of children living with complex pediatric chronic conditions talk about uncertainty, hope, and hopelessness. I am currently working with the SHINE Perinatal and Pediatric Palliative Care program at UnityPoint Health-Des Moines on research to understand and create information disseminated to patients and families.
PhD, Communication, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 2015, Distinguished Dissertation Fellow

MA, Communication, University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, 2009

BA, Speech Communication, University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, 2007, cum laude with High Department Distinction
Across the different institutions that I have worked, I have taught a variety of communication courses, including: Health Communication, Interpersonal Communication, Public Speaking, Persuasive Speaking, Communication Theory, Conflict Management and Research Seminar. I am also advising two former students with an independent study using previously collected research data. My approach with teaching each of these courses is to foster a classroom environment that is engaging and student-centered. Student assessment includes a combination of individual and collaborative group assignments.
How I Came to Communication Studies
My interest in interpersonal health communication was cultivated throughout my graduate studies and volunteer work with the Ronald McDonald House Charities Eastern Wisconsin. Together, these two experiences introduced me to the field and the need for improving the information and care that patients and families receive as they traverse acute and chronic illness
Recent Publications
Rafferty, K. A., & Sullivan, S. L. (in press). “‘You know the medicine, I know my kid’: Being a parental advocate for children with complex chronic conditions. Health Communication. doi: 10.1080/10410236.2016.1214221

Sahlstein Parcell, E., & Rafferty, K. A. (in press). Interviews, recording, and transcribing. In M. Allen (Ed.) The Sage Encyclopedia of Communication Research Methods. Los Angeles, CA: Sage.

Cramer, E. M., Rafferty, K. A., Priddis, D. (in press). “Studying end-of-life conversations between spouses: A qualitative application of problematic integration theory.” In B. Flett & M. Gill (Eds.) Sage Research Methods Cases - Health. Los Angeles, CA: Sage.

Rafferty, K. A., & Sahlstein Parcell, E. M. (2016). “Dialectical tensions experienced during pediatric chronic illness: Analyzing art therapy conversations from a relational dialectics perspective.” Journal of Clinical Art Therapy, 3, 21-31. doi:http://digitalcommons.lmu.edu/jcat/vol3/iss1/5

Rafferty, K. A., Cramer, E., & Priddis, D. (2016). Problematic integration and dying wishes: Examining spousal information-seeking about end-of-life care preferences. American Journal of Hospice and Palliative Medicine. 33, 69-76. doi:10.1177/1049909114550675
Current Research
Rafferty, K. A., Mir, G., & Ali, P. A. (2016). “Positionality, pregnancy, and motherhood: A first-time expectant mother’s journey to understand parents’ stories of caregiving for children with complex chronic conditions.” Manuscript currently in preparation.

This semester I am working with two undergraduate research assistants on a project that examines the spoken and unspoken “communication rules” parents have when talking about their child’s chronic illness.

Outside the University
I enjoy running outside, cooking recipes from Pinterest ideas, traveling throughout the US and internationally, and spending quality time with my family and friends. I am currently training for my 7th half marathon.