John RiefAssistant Professor
McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts
Communication & Rhetorical Studies
341 College Hall
Education:Ph.D., Communication, University of Pittsburgh, 2012
M.A., Bioethics, University of Pittsburgh, 2013
M.A., Communication, University of Pittsburgh, 2008
B.A., Communication and Philosophy, Regis University, 2005
Dr. Rief hails from Denver, Colorado where he was a student at Regis Jesuit University, completing BAs in Philosophy and Communication. He was also a member on Regis' nationally competitive debate team, reaching the elimination rounds of several major invitational tournaments and the National Debate Tournament.
Dr. Rief completed his PhD in Communication (2012) and MA in Bioethics (2013) at the University of Pittsburgh. His doctoral work was supported by a fellowship in clinical and translational research awarded by the University of Pittsburgh's Institute for Clinical Research Education and funded by the National Institutes of Health. His dissertation project ("Searching for the Good Life: Rhetoric, Medicine, and the Shaping of Lifestyle") was selected among the top three best dissertations of the year by the American Society for the History of Rhetoric and is now being developed as his first book project. While completing his degree, Dr. Rief coached (and, for one year, was the associate director) of the policy debate program in the William Pitt Debating Union. He also worked closely with the public debate program there, assisting in the planning and implementation of several debates on a wide range of topics including police brutality and public health.
After the completion of his PhD, he was selected for a postdoctoral scholarship in health services research awarded by the University of Pittsburgh's Institute for Clinical Research Education and RAND-University of Pittsburgh Scholars program and funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.
Dr. Rief teaches a variety of courses in the department including the history of communication, argument in the global public sphere, and public speaking. He is also the Senior Debate Consultant for the Duquesne Debating Society, a role that includes assisting the society in planning events, developing opportunities for curricular integration of debate into the department's courses, and coordinating scholarly research related to debate. His current research focuses on debate and argumentation theory, the intersecting histories of rhetoric and medicine, and communication issues in contemporary chronic care. His work has appeared in Argumentation & Advocacy, Communication & Critical/Cultural Studies, Health Education & Behavior, Contemporary Argumentation & Debate and the selected works volumes of the AFA/NCA (Alta) conference and the International Society for the Study of Argumentation conference, among other venues.
Journal Articles (2011 - Present)
"Using Health Information Technology to Foster Engagement: Patients' Experiences with an Active Patient Health Record" (lead and corresponding author with Megan E. Hamm, Susan L. Zickmund, Cara Nikolajski, Dan Lesky, Rachel Hess, Gary S. Fischer, Melissa Weimer, Sunday Clark, Caroline Zieth, and Mark S. Roberts), Health Communication. (2016). Published online: DOI:10.1080/10410236.2016.1138378.
"Building the Case for an ‘Architectonic' Function of Rhetoric in Health Services Research." POROI: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Rhetorical Analysis and Invention. Volume 10, Issue 1 (2014). Available at http://ir.uiowa.edu/poroi/vol10/iss1/9/.
"Promoting Patient Phronesis: Communication Patterns in an Online Lifestyle Program Coordinated with Primary Care" (lead co-author with Gordon R. Mitchell, Susan L. Zickmund, Tina D. Bhargava, Cindy L. Bryce, Gary S. Fischer, Rachel Hess, N. Randall Kolb, Laurey R. Simin-Silverman, and Kathleen M. McTigue). Health Education & Behavior. Volume 40, Number 3 (2012): 311-322. PubMed ID: 22984212.
"Improving Patient Activation in Crisis and Chronic Care through Rhetorical Approaches to New Media Technologies," (co-author with Aimee Roundtree and Aimee-Marie Dorsten). POROI: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Rhetorical Analysis and Invention. Volume 7, Issue 1 (2011). Available at: http://ir.uiowa.edu/poroi/vol7/iss1/12.
Recent Honors and Awards
Dissertation ("Searching for the Good Life: Rhetoric, Medicine, and the Shaping of Lifestyle) selected among the top three finalists for the 2012 American Society for the History of Rhetoric dissertation award.
Vice President, National Educational Debate Association (April 2016-present)