Jay M. Bernhardt

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Jay M. Bernhardt
Jay Bernhardt UT Austin.png
Bernhardt visiting the UT in New York (UTNY) program in 2019
Born (1969-03-01) March 1, 1969 (age 52)
OccupationUniversity administrator, professor, public health leader
Academic background
Alma mater
WebsiteMoody College of Communication

Jay M. Bernhardt is a health communication scholar, public health leader, professor and college administrator. Bernhardt has served as the dean of the Moody College of Communication at The University of Texas at Austin since March 2016.[1] At UT Austin, he was the founding director of the Center for Health Communication in 2015.[2] He serves on multiple boards of directors and is the founder of national nonprofit organizations including the Alliance of Schools and Colleges of Communication and Journalism and the Society for Health Communication.


Bernhardt attended Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, where he earned a B.A. in sociology and minored in computer science. He earned a Master of Public Health (MPH)[3] degree from Rutgers and the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. Bernhardt earned his Ph.D. in public health from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC)[4] with an interdisciplinary focus on health communication.[5]

He's been inducted into honor societies including the Cap and Skull Society at Rutgers and the Order of the Grail-Valkyries at UNC, and received awards including the Everett M. Rogers Award for Excellence in Health Communication and the Jay S. Drotman Memorial Award from the American Public Health Association.[6]


Bernhardt began his academic career as an assistant professor in the School of Health and Human Performance at the University of Georgia in 1999 before joining the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University in 2001. From 2005-10, Bernhardt worked at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), where he directed the National Center for Health Marketing, overseeing and advancing the agency’s communication, marketing, partnerships, and new media innovations.[7] In 2010, he joined the School of Health and Human Performance at the University of Florida, where he served as department chair, professor and center director. He joined UT Austin in July 2014 as professor, established the Center for Health Communication and was named interim dean in 2015.[8]

His research is focused on digital health through the application of communication and technology to public health and healthcare. He was among the first to research wireless mobile technology for health-related data collection and personalized text messages, and the application of new and social media for health communication. His research has been funded by the National Institutes for Health, the Food and Drug Administration, the CDC, and other agencies and foundations.[9]

Bernhardt became the sixth dean of the Moody College of Communication on March 1, 2016.[10] Moody College is one of the largest and most comprehensive colleges of communication in the country with seven majors and nearly 5,000 students. Bernhardt's tenure has led to the development of many new programs including a four-year honors program,[11] B.A. degree in communication and leadership[12] and a “study away” program in New York City known as UTNY.[13] He increased graduate student funding and the four-year graduation rate to 80 percent, among the highest on campus.[14] He's recruited more than 50 new faculty members and established new research centers, institutes and programs.[15][16] He's also prioritized issues of diversity, equity and inclusion and established the college’s first associate dean position with this portfolio.[17]


  1. ^ Staff, K. U. T. "UT College of Communication Announces Jay Bernhardt as New Dean". www.kut.org.
  2. ^ "HB alumnus Bernhardt to lead new health communication center at University of Texas • UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health".
  3. ^ "Rutgers School of Public Health - Alumni". sph.rutgers.edu. Retrieved 2020-05-18.
  4. ^ "HB alumnus named dean of communication at University of Texas • UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health". UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health. Retrieved 2020-05-18.
  5. ^ "Jay M. Bernhardt". 11 January 2017.
  6. ^ "Previous Drotman Memorial Award winners".
  7. ^ "CDC Online Newsroom - Press Release - CDC's National Center for Health Marketing Forms Professional Advisory Group". www.cdc.gov.
  8. ^ "Moody College Welcomes New Interim Dean". Moody College of Communication. August 3, 2015.
  9. ^ https://commstudies.utexas.edu/sites/default/files/Bernhardt%20CV%201-1-17.pdf
  10. ^ "Jay Bernhardt Named Dean of the Moody College of Communication". February 22, 2016.
  11. ^ "High Honors". August 2017.
  12. ^ "UT Austin Launches Communication and Leadership Undergraduate Degree". 2 August 2016.
  13. ^ "Announcing UTNY". 24 September 2018.
  14. ^ "Graduation Rates Show Continued Impact of UT Austin's Emphasis on Student Success". 26 September 2019.
  15. ^ Anonymous (2018-08-13). "Welcoming New Moody Talent". Moody College of Communication. Retrieved 2020-05-18.
  16. ^ englandn (2019-08-29). "14 new, full-time faculty bring diverse talent". Moody College of Communication. Retrieved 2020-05-18.
  17. ^ "Smith named first Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion". 13 November 2019.

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