Start main page content

Health Communication Research Unit (HCRU)

The HCRU, based in the School of Human and Community Development at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) is a multidisciplinary research group concerned with the unique challenges of multilingual and intercultural communication in the South African healthcare context.

The main goal of the Unit is to apply methods from the social sciences to investigate communication practices across healthcare domains and sites, with a view to influencing theory, formulating recommendations for policy and practice and developing and implementing site specific communication training programmes. The Unit is driven by an implementation research paradigm. Given the country’s disease burden and the evidence of our research, there is now an excellent opportunity to put such research findings into practice. Opportunities for postgraduate research and training is also available through the Unit.

Our Vision

To improve healthcare outcomes through communication.

Our Mission

To develop innovative ways of understanding communication barriers in the health sector.

Our Approach

We use disease-specific evidence-based applied research to address social, cultural and linguistic complexities of health.

Our Core Values

Innovative and excellent research which facilitates:

  • Equitable and quality healthcare
  • Team focus and collaboration
  • Relationship centred care
  • Global and local links
  • Productivity and postgraduate degrees

Areas of interest

  • Communicable diseases (e.g. TB, HIV)
  • Non-communicable diseases (e.g. diabetes, stroke, hypertension, genetics)
  • Doctor-patient/inter-professional team communication
  • Pharmacy interactions
  • Emergency medicine (e.g. emergency call services, organ transplant and donation)
  • Informed consent in clinical trials
  • Communication training for healthcare professionals
  • Interpreting practices
  • Cultural beliefs and understanding of diseases
  • Speech and language disorders