College Directory

Carla L. Fisher, Ph.D.

Associate Professor - Department of Advertising
Full Member - UF Health Cancer Center
Faculty Affiliate - Center for Arts in Medicine

Office: 2080 Weimer Phone: 352-294-1019 Email: Website:


Carla L. Fisher is an Associate Professor and Coordinator of the Graduate Certificates in Health Communication and Science Communication. She is also a Member of the UF Health Cancer Center and Affiliate Faculty in the Center for Arts and Medicine. Dr. Fisher uses a lifespan, developmental lens and mixed methods to study the central role of family communication to health in both familial and clinical settings. Much of her research is focused in cancer and improving 1) family coping and caregiving, 2) patient-clinician-family interaction, and 3) families’ engagement in risk-reducing behavior and medical decisions. Her research collaborations have garnered more than $2 million in grants.

Dr. Fisher leads the Family·Health·Lifespan Communication Lab, whose central mission is to produce research that helps families engage in healthy communication practice at home and in the clinical setting. She is an active scientist in the National Cancer Institute (NCI) – National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) funded Breast Cancer and Environmental Research Program (BCERP). Fisher also is an frequently invited expert in qualitative methodology on grants and consulted for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), National United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and the Office on Women’s Health (OWH).

She has over 70 publications including two books. Her sole authored book, Coping Together Side by Side…, was awarded the 2018 NCA’s Communication & Aging Division Outstanding Book Award and is the first book providing developmentally tailored evidence to help mothers and daughters enhance their communication when coping with breast cancer at various points in the lifespan. It has been praised by Johns Hopkins Breast Center and UCLA School of Medicine (recent review in Psycho-Oncology). She teaches graduate courses in Family Health Communication across the Lifespan, Interpersonal Health Communication Theory, and Advanced Qualitative Methods: Narrative Health Research.


Ph.D. Pennsylvania State University
M.A. Arizona State University
B.S. Florida Institute of Technology



Select Publications

Fisher, C. L., Mullis, M. D., Kastrinos, A., Wollney, E., Sae-Hau, M., Weiss, E., & Bylund, C. L. (2020). “Home wasn’t home anymore”: Understanding the impact of blood cancer caregiving on the family system. Supportive Care in Cancer.

Wright, K., Cai, X., Fisher, C. L., Rising, C., Afanaseva, D., & Burke-Garcia, A. (2020). Environmental breast cancer risk and blog user health beliefs: An analysis of mommy blogger/blog readers’ social amplification and tailoring of BCERP intervention messages.  Health Communication.

Fisher, C. L., Wright, K., Rising, C., Cai, X., Mullis, D., Burke-Garcia, A. & Afanaseva, D. (2020).  Helping mothers and daughters talk about environmental breast cancer risk and risk-reducing lifestyle behaviors International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 17(13), 4757.

Dean, M., & Fisher, C. L. (2019). Uncertainty and previvors’ cancer risk management: Understanding the decision-making process. Journal of Applied Communication Research, 47(4), 460-483.

Fisher, C. L., Rising, C., Wright, K., Afanaseva, D., Mullis, M., Burke-Garcia, A., & Cai, X. (2019). Culturally tailoring environmental risk breast cancer messages to enhance mother-daughter communication and promote risk-reducing behavior. Journal of Cancer Education.

Canzona, M., Fisher, C. L., Wright, K., & Ledford, C.  (2019). Talking about sexual health during survivorship: Understanding what shapes breast cancer survivors’ willingness to communicate with providers. Journal of Cancer Survivorship.

Fisher, C. L., Ledford, C., & Crawford, P. (2019). Explaining acupuncture in family medicine: Patients’ and physicians’ use of metaphor. Journal of Communication in Healthcare.

Canzona, M., Ledford, C. J. W, Fisher, C. L., Garcia, D., Raleigh, M., Kalish, V. (2018). Clinician barriers to initiating sexual health conversations with breast cancer survivors: The influence of assumptions and situational constraints. Family, Systems, and Health, 26, 20-28.

Fisher, C. L., Fowler, C., Wolf, B., & Canzona, M. R. (2017). Experiences of “openness” between mothers and daughters during breast cancer: Implications on coping and health outcomes. Psycho-Oncology11, 1872-1880.

Fisher, C. L., Roccotagliata, T. J., Rising, C. J., Kissane, D., Glogowski, E., & Bylund, C. (2017). “I don’t want to be an ostrich”: Managing mothers’ uncertainty during BRCA 1/2 genetic counseling. Journal of Genetic Counseling, 26, 455-468.

Canzona, M. R., Garcia, D., Fisher, C. L., Raleigh, M., Kalish, V., & Ledford, C. (2016). Communication about sexual health with breast cancer survivors: Variation among patient and provider perspectives. Patient Education & Counseling99, 1813-1820.

Fisher, C. L., & Nussbaum, J. F. (2015).  Maximizing wellness in successful aging and cancer coping: The importance of family communication from a socioemotional selectivity theoretical perspective. Journal of Family Communication. 15, 3-19.

Fisher, C. L. (2014). Coping together, side by side: Enriching mother-daughter communication across the breast cancer journey. New York: Hampton Press.

Fowler, C., Fisher, C. L., & Pitts, M. (2014). Older adults’ evaluations of middle-aged children’s attempts to initiate discussion of care needs. Health Communication, 29, 717-727.

Fisher, C. L., Maloney, E., Glogowski, E., Hurley, K., Edgerson, S., Lichtenthal, W. G., Kissane, D., & Bylund, C. (2014). Talking about familial breast cancer risk: Topics and strategies to enhance mother-daughter interactions. Qualitative Health Research, 24, 517-535.

Fisher, C. L., Miller-Day, M., & Nussbaum, J. F. (2013). Healthy doses of positivity: Mothers’ and daughters’ use of positive communication when coping with breast cancer. In M. Pitts & T. J. Socha (Eds.), Positive communication in health and wellness (pp. 98-113). New York: Peter Lang.

Bylund, C., Fisher, C. L., Brashers, D., Edgerson, S., Glogowski, E. A., Boyar, S. R., Kemel, Y., Siegel, B., Spencer, S., & Kissane, D. (2012). Sources of uncertainty about daughters’ breast cancer risk that emerge during genetic counseling consultations.  Journal of Genetic Counseling, 12, 292-304.

Fisher, C. L. (2010). Coping with breast cancer across adulthood: Emotional support communication in the mother-daughter bond. Journal of Applied Communication Research, 38, 386-411.

Nussbaum, J. F., & Fisher, C. L. (2009). Communication model for the competent delivery of geriatric medicine. Journal of Language and Social Psychology, 28, 190-208.


Research Keywords

Family communication, interpersonal health communication, patient-provider communication, communication and aging, intergenerational communication, lifespan communication, intervention development

Research Areas

Family communication and health, parent-child communication, cancer coping and caregiving, openness and social support, disease risk and medical decisions, hereditary breast and ovarian cancer (HBOC), lifespan theory, aging and human development, women’s health, emerging and young adulthood


Syllabi from the current and three previous semesters: