Jill Yamasaki - University of Houston
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Jill Yamasaki

Associate Professor
Office: Communication Bldg
Phone: 713-743-3631
Email: jyamasaki@uh.edu

Jill Yamasaki, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor in the Jack J. Valenti School of Communication. She teaches health communication courses at the undergraduate and graduate level as well as qualitative research methods at the graduate level. Her research focuses on narrative inquiry and practice in health communication and aging, particularly in the contexts of creative engagement, community connections, long-term care, and the human-animal bond. Dr. Yamasaki is the lead co-author of Storied Health and Illness: Communicating Personal, Cultural, and Political Complexities, an innovative text that offers a unique narrative approach to the study of health communication. She has been a Senior Editor at Health Communication since 2018 and is the 2023 program planner/2024 chair of NCA’s Health Communication Division.


  • Ph.D. in Communication, Texas A&M University
  • MA in Speech Communication, University of Houston
  • BA in English-Writing, University of Colorado-Denver


  • COMM 3300 Health Communication
  • COMM 3301 Doctor-Patient Interaction
  • COMM 3304 Multicultural Health Communication
  • COMM 6305 Qualitative Research Methods
  • COMM 6336 Communication in Healthcare Contexts
  • COMM 6339 Multicultural Health Communication

Selected Publications

  • Yamasaki, J. (2022). Serving life (paws up!): The poetic possibilities of rescued second chances. In B. L. Peterson & L. M. Harter (Eds.), Brave space-making: The poetics and politics of storytelling (pp. 349–370). Kendall Hunt.
  • Harter, L. M., Yamasaki, J., & Kerr, A. (2022). Narrative features, forms, and functions: Telling stories to foster well-being, humanize healthcare, and catalyze change. In T. L. Thompson & N. Harrington (Eds.), Routledge handbook of health communication (3rd ed., pp. 47–60). Routledge.
  • Yamasaki, J. (2021). When theory and method intertwine. In T. L. Thompson & P. J. Schulz (Eds.), Health communication theories (pp. 42–63). Wiley.
  • Yamasaki, J. (2020). Old friends make the best friends: A counter-narrative of aging for people and pets. Journal of Aging Studies, 54, 1–8.
  • Yamasaki, J. (2020). Response-ability and the trauma of animal rescue. Health Communication, 35(2), 253–256.
  • Yamasaki, J. (2018). The communicative role of companion pets in patient-centered critical care. Patient Education and Counseling, 101, 830–835.
  • Yamasaki, J., Geist-Martin, P., & Sharf, B. F. (2017). Storied health and illness: Communicating personal, cultural, and political complexities. Waveland Press.
  • Ohs, J. E., & Yamasaki, J. (2017). Communication and successful aging: Challenging the dominant cultural narrative of decline. Communication Research Trends, 36, 4–42.
  • Yamasaki, J. (2015). Aging with service, socialization, and support: The work of church-based stories in a lifetime community. Journal of Aging Studies, 35, 65-73.
  • Yamasaki, J., & Hovick, S. R. (2015). “That was grown folks’ business”: Narrative reflection and response in older adults’ family health history communication. Health Communication, 30, 221-230.
  • Hovick, S. R., Yamasaki, J., Burton, A. M., & Peterson, S. K. (2015). Patterns of family health history communication among African American older adults. Journal of Health Communication, 20, 80-87.
  • Yamasaki, J. (2014). Age accomplished, performed, and failed: Liz Young as old on The Biggest Loser. Text and Performance Quarterly, 34, 354-371.
  • Yamasaki, J., Sharf, B. F., & Harter, L. M. (2014). Narrative inquiry: Attitude, acts, artifacts, and analysis. In B. B. Whaley (Ed.), Research methods in health communication: Principles and application (pp. 99-118). Routledge.
  • Yamasaki, J. (2013). The poetic possibilities of long-term care. In L. M. Harter (Ed.), Imagining new normals: A narrative framework for health communication (pp. 107-124). Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company.
  • Yamasaki, J., & Sharf, B. F. (2011). Opting out while fitting in: How residents make sense of assisted living and cope with community life. Journal of Aging Studies, 25, 13-21.
  • Yamasaki, J. (2009). Though much is taken, much abides: The storied world of aging in a fictionalized retirement home. Health Communication, 24, 588-596. 


  • 2022 University of Houston Teaching Excellence Award
  • 2020 Valenti Impact Award—Outstanding Teaching
  • 2020 NCA Communication & Aging Division, Top Paper Award
  • 2016 Valenti Impact Award—Outstanding Teaching
  • 2013 NCA Communication & Aging Division, Top Paper Award
  • 2009 NCA Communication & Aging Division, Outstanding Dissertation Award
  • Phi Beta Kappa