West Virginia University Health Affairs Institute
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Research Specialist




PhD Candidate, University of Delaware (2024 predicted)
MA, Communication Research and Theory, West Virginia University

As a Research Specialist, Michele splits her time between the long-term services and supports (LTSS) regulatory study and the direct care workforce training surge portions of the Direct Care Workforce Capacity project (DCWC). Michele is leveraging her expertise in health communication as well as industry experience in regulatory compliance to provide support and insight regarding worker recruitment and reduction of LTSS regulatory redundancies and administrative burden.  

Michele specializes in the construction, implementation, and evaluation of theory-informed, persuasive health messaging and promotion, as well as the influence of media such as cable news coverage on health beliefs and behaviors, with particular emphasis on vaccination, breast cancer, and adolescent risk behaviors and alcohol use. Michele utilizes both qualitative and quantitative approaches to understand health behavior, including focus groups and interviews, audience segmentation analysis, univariate and multivariate statistics, and multilevel models.

Having worked on two large-scale longitudinal content analyses (Alzheimer’s research participation and research coverage and COVID-19 vaccine development) funded by National Institute of Health grants, Michele also has content analytic experience including the planning, data collection, coding, and data analysis of qualitative or message-based content such as news coverage of COVID-19. Michele is especially interested in the ways that individual, community, and societal variables and influences interact to produce population health effects.


Published Works: 

  • Boehm, M., White, A., Bleakley, A., & Young, D. G. (2022). How stay-at-home orders interact with COVID-19 misperceptions and individuals’ social distancing intentions. Journal of Primary Prevention, 43, 469–484 https://doi.org/10.1007/s10935-022-00680-5  
  • White, A., Maloney, E., Boehm, M., & Bleakley, A. (2022). Factors associated with COVID-19 masking behavior: An application of the Health Belief Model. Health Education Research, 37(6), 452-465. https://doi.org/10.1093/her/cyac031  
  • Maloney, E. K., White, A. J., Samuel, L., Boehm, M., & Bleakley, A. (2023). COVID-19 coverage from six network and cable news sources in the United States: Representation of misinformation, correction, and portrayals of severity. Public Understanding of Science, online ahead of publication. https://doi.org/10.1177/09636625231179588