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Our purpose is to explore and practice the art and science of utilizing marketing and communication techniques via traditional and emerging technologies to promote positive health changes and improved quality of life among our target audiences.

The Social Marketing & Health Communication Lab (SMHC Lab) provides opportunity for students to gain practical, hands-on experiences in social marketing techniques, social media strategies, persuasive writing and blogging, health communication skills, interviewing and focus group skills, and podcast development.

The lab is housed in the Department of Behavioral Health and Nutrition with designated space for faculty and graduate student offices, internet support, and necessary software and hardware.

The primary focus of the lab has been the development, implementation, and evaluation of the Get Up and Do Something (GUADS) campaign.  The campaign was started by Dr. Peterson in 2001 and has been supported by the Delaware Division of Public Health.  Its aim is to promote healthy lifestyle behaviors among the 18 to 35 age group.  Currently, the campaign consists of a website hub (, InstagramFacebook, and Podcasts.  The Facebook initiative boasts over 30,000 followers.  Over the course of the campaign the Social Marketing and Health Communication lab utilized radio, billboards, television, online marketing, and sundry promotional events.  GUADS is one of the longest running social marketing initiatives in the United States.

The Lab, also under the direction of Dr. Peterson, created the One Less campaign.  This initiative focused on reducing sweet and sugary beverage consumption (SSB) by one serving a day.  The initiative was a point-of-sale campaign that proved highly effective in reducing SSB consumption among targeted populations.

Other initiatives have included:

  • Support for the National Foundation for Fitness Sport and Nutrition website
  • Development and support for Delaware WIC’s Facebook page
  • Development and support for WIC via the creation of Food Demonstration and Nutrition Education Outreach media
  • Delaware State Park Healthy Food interventions
  • Emotion based messaging development for family meals
  • Marketing and communications support for the Delaware Clinical and Translational Research NIH grant


The Social Marketing and Health Communication Lab employs 3 graduate students to direct GUADS efforts. In addition, undergraduate students gain skills and resume building experiences via coursework, independent studies, practicums, and internship opportunities. Our students engage in meaningful work that not only gives them great educational experience, but provides them with unique skill sets that enhance their job marketability upon graduation.


The SMHC team includes experts in health communication, mass media, persuasion social influence, and social marketing. Our team is specialized in digital message design and effects related health issues including: physical activity, nutrition, mental health, or specific behaviors related to a health issue or concern.

We provide consulting in the following areas:

Message/Campaign Design: We can craft strategic digital messages to inform and motivate a priority audience. We can conduct formative research to develop effective messages as part of a larger campaign. This may include individual interviews, focus groups, or message testing.

Campaign Implementation: We can provide communication and web support for a campaign through the dissemination of digital materials and coordination with GUADS social media platforms.

For more information, contact Drs. Peterson ( or Skubisz (


Dr. Michael Peterson

Dr. Michael Peterson, EdD.
Dr. Peterson created the SMHC Lab in 2001, and continues to serve as the director of all SMHC Lab activities. He is the creator and director of the Get Up and Do Something Campaign, the One Less Challenge, and director of Marketing and Communications for the ACCEL-CTR grant from NIH. He teaches graduate courses in Social Marketing, and Health and the Media, and has served as a consultant on numerous social marketing and health communication projects. He has worked with national organizations (e.g. Help Me Grow National Center, Hartford, CT; National Foundation for Fitness Sport and Nutrition, Washington DC) in developing their marketing and communication efforts. Dr. Peterson was a health expert with Lluminari Inc. (a health and media firm), and on the Social Marketing and Health Communications advisory board for the Nemours Health and Prevention Services organization.

Dr. Christine Skubisz

Dr. Christine Skubisz
Dr. Skubisz is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Behavioral Health and Nutrition. Her research expertise is in campaign message design and evaluation, health and risk communication, risk perception, and the cognitive processing of health risks—including informed decision making and persuasion. Dr. Skubisz has developed and evaluated interventions for a variety of organizations including the Andover Massachusetts Conservation Commission (chemical exposure), the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (drowsy driving), the US Food and Drug Administration (food safety and defense), the University of Pennsylvania hospital system (personalized breast cancer screening), and Massachusetts General Hospital (stable chest discomfort). She teaches courses in research methods, assessment in health behavior science, and health communication.


Graduate Students

Angelina Seeney: A Masters student in Health Promotion, Angelina directs GUADS website activities, on-line promotions, and serves as editor for website content. She also conducts podcast interviews, is responsible for creative development, and data tracking and assessment. In addition, she supports WIC Facebook interventions.

Emily Clover: A Masters student in Health Promotion, Emily oversees all GUADS social media efforts including Instagram and Facebook. She writes blogs and is responsible for creative development for GUADS related social media initiatives.

Tanya Haley: A Masters student in Health Promotion, Tanya works with the ACCEL marketing and communications program, as well as writing blogs for GUADS

Breanna Nicholson: A Masters student in Health Promotion, Bre has served in a variety of roles with GUADS but most recently is writing blogs and conducting podcast interviews.

Undergraduate Students

Meghan Paulus
Anwen Herbert-Lewis

Lab Alumni

Laurie Abildso
Rachel Blair
Steve Bowman
Stefanie Busch
Christina Brown
Margaret Chandlee
Megan Christner
Katherine Dienert

Aston Dommel
Kelley Donnovan
Stephanie Ferisin
Kellye Foulke
Chelsea Ganc
Erin Gimmell
Gabrielle Guider
Alexa Hrischberg

Leah Hazuda
Zaynah Henry
Ryan Keenan
Dylan Lancaster
Allison Massey
Michael Massimini
Jared McCabe
Katherine McCleary

Jessica Perry
Calle Pisk
Laura Saperstein
Linda Tholstrup
Jennie Turner
Paige Woolley
Krissy Yurkanin


Selected Studies

Lessard, L, Skubisz C, Yurkanin K, Turner J, Peterson, M. “Reducing sugar-sweetened beverage consumption in the workplace through an innovative point-of-sale campaign”. (Under Review)

Hazuda L, Dahl A, Papas MA, Dominick G, Peterson M. (2013) “Seasonal variation of usage for a web-based social marketing campaign”. Annals of Behavioral Medicine. 45(2): s297.

Woolley P, Peterson M (2012). Efficacy of a health-related Facebook Social Networking site on health-seeking behaviors. Social Marketing Quarterly. 18:29-39.

Massimini M, Peterson PM (2009). Information and communication technology: affects on US college students. Cyberpsychology. 3 (1): article 3 (Online at:

Kling L, Cotugna N, Snider S, Peterson PM (2009). Using metaphorical techniques in focus groups to uncover mothers’ feelings about family meals. Nutrition Research and Practice. 3(3).

Peterson M, Chandlee M, Abraham A. (2008) Cost-benefit analysis of a statewide media campaign to promote adolescent physical activity. Health Promotion Practice. 9(4),426-433.

Gemmill E, Peterson M. (2006) Technology use among college students: Implications for student affairs professionals. NASPA Journal. 43(2), 280-300.

Peterson M, Abraham A, Waterfield A. (2005). Marketing physical activity: Lessons learned from a statewide media campaign. Journal of Health Promotion Practice 6: 437-446.


The SMHC Lab offers educational opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students through independent studies, practicums, and internships. For more information, contact:

Dr. Michael Peterson (
Dr. Christine Skubisz (