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 in the College of Journalism and Communications, Full Member of the UF Health Cancer Center in the Population Sciences Program, and Faculty Affiliate in the Center for Arts and Medicine. She is also an Expert Advisory Board Member for the STEM Translational Communication Center (STCC). Prior to joining UF, she was faculty at Arizona State University and George Mason University and a National Institute on Aging (NIA) Pre-Doctoral Fellow/Trainee (T32 AG00048). Dr. Fisher’s research collaborations have garnered more than $2 million in grant funding and include federal awards from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), National Institute on Aging (NIA), and the Department of Defense (DOD).

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 when coping with health transitions and disease risk. She has expertise in multi-method qualitative designs and been an invited expert consultant for various institutions and grant review boards, including for the NCI, NIEHS, National United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Office on Women’s Health (OWH), and the Military Primary Care Research Network, Uniformed Service University in Health Sciences (USUHS).

Much of her work has addressed mother-daughter breast cancer coping and risk reduction behavior (  In 2014, she published the first translational, evidence-based book (Coping Together Side by Side…) focused on the importance of mother-daughter communication when coping with breast cancer. It has been praised by experts at Johns Hopkins Breast Center and UCLA School of Medicine (recent review in Psycho-Oncology), and awarded the 2018 NCA’s Communication & Aging Division Outstanding Book Award.


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



Select Publications

Wright, K., Fisher, C. L., Rising, C., Afanaseva, D., Burke-Garcia, A., & Cai, X. (2019). Partnering with mommy bloggers to disseminate breast cancer risk information: A social media intervention. Journal of Medical Internet Research.

Canzona, M., Fisher, C. L., & Ledford, C. (2019). Perpetuating the cycle of silence: The intersection of uncertainty and sexual health communication among couples after breast cancer treatment. Supportive Care in Cancer, 27, 659-668.

Fisher, C. L., Ledford, C., Moss, R., & Crawford, P. (2018). Physician communication to enhance patient acupuncture engagement in family medicine. Journal of Health Communication, 23, 422-429.

Ledford, C., Fisher, C. L., Moss, R., & Crawford, P. (2018). Critical factors to providing and maintaining acupuncture treatment in the family medicine setting. Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine, 31:236-242.

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-Oncology, 11, 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 & Counseling, 99, 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.

Fisher, C. L., Goldsmith, D., Harrison, K., Hoffner, C. A., Segrin, C., Wright, K., & Miller, K. (2012). Communication and mental health: A conversation from the CM café. Communication Monographs, 79, 539-550.

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., Miller-Day, M., & Fisher, C. L. (2009). Communication and intimacy in older adulthood. Madrid: Aresta.

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.


Fisher uses a developmental framework and narrative-focused methodology to conduct translational research that can help families learn healthy communication approaches critical to their ability to cope with illness and engage in risk-reducing and health-promoting behavior across generations of family members. Much of her work focuses on women’s health concerns, intergenerational dynamics, mother-daughter interaction, and cancer coping and prevention/risk. She currently has NIH/NIEHS funding as well as an internal CTSI grant to expand her mother-daughter breast cancer research program by capturing culturally diverse mother-daughter coping and risk-related needs and examining breast cancer environmental risk information dissemination to mothers/daughters using social media.


Syllabi from the current and three previous semesters: