Philip Massey

Dr. Philip M. Massey, PhD, MPH, is an Associate Professor in Community Health Sciences in the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health. His health communication scholarship focuses on media and technology in the U.S. and globally, on topics ranging from social media, vaccine communication, health literacy, entertainment education, and ethics in social media research. His work takes a mixed-methods approach focusing on health and media literacy in the context of multiple media environments.

He has examined patterns and shifts in public opinion toward HPV vaccination on Twitter and Instagram, focusing on what types of messages are shared and how content is related to reach and impact. He has also developed and tested cancer prevention messages on social media to engage parents about the HPV vaccine, leveraging the power of narrative engagement and storytelling, and more recently extended this work to alcohol recovery. His global health work has examined the impact of media effects on health knowledge and attitudes, specifically related to storytelling and narrative engagement among a West African population, utilizing digital and social media.

In addition, his work has contributed to characterizing and addressing misinformation on the internet and social media, demonstrating the importance of identifying various dimensions of misinformation that can lead to tailored interventions.

Dr. Massey's applied and community-based research includes program planning, evaluation, and capacity building. He led a state-level evaluation of programs targeting the prevention of prescription drug misuse and alcohol use among youth in PA. In this role, he trained state agencies and county officials in the principles of prevention science as well as fundamentals in program planning and evaluation, and led the development of data briefs on topics including the accessibility of overdose prevention services, the changing landscape of marijuana in PA, and firearm safety and suicide prevention.

A native of North Carolina, Dr. Massey enjoys road trips with his wife and three daughters, exploring nature, playing and watching sports, and eating plenty of great food.  


  • PhD, Public Health; University of California, Los Angeles
  • MPH, Public Health; University of California, Los Angeles
  • BS, Biology; University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Areas of Interest

Health communication; digital and online health; social media and health; media effects; social media ethics; entertainment-education; health literacy; mixed-methods research; HPV vaccination; vaccine communication; substance use; parent health decision-making.

Selected Publications

  • Visit PubMed

  • Russell AM, Bergman BG, Colditz JC, Massey PM. Algorithmic accountability on social media platforms in the context of alcohol-related health behavior change. Addiction. 2022.

  • Massey PM, Kearney MD, Rideau A, Peterson A, Gipson J, Nianogo R, Bornstein M, Prelip M, Glik DC. Measuring impact of storyline engagement on health knowledge, attitudes, and norms: A digital evaluation of an online health-focused serial drama in West Africa. Journal of Global Health. 2022.

  • Manganello JA, Chiang SC, Cowlin H, Kearney MD, Massey PM. HPV and COVID-19 vaccine confidence and social media use among parents living in different community types in the United States. Journal of Behavioral Medicine. 2022.

  • Russell AM, Bergman BG, Colditz JB, Kelly JF, Milaham PJ, Massey PM. Using TikTok in recovery from substance use disorder. Drug and Alcohol Dependence. 2021.

  • Massey PM, Chiang SC, Rose M, Murray RM, Rockett M, Togo E, Klassen AC, Manganello JA, Leader AE. Development of Personas to Communicate Narrative-Based Information about the HPV Vaccine on Twitter. Frontiers in Digital Health. 2021.

  • Massey PM, Togo E, Chiang SC, Klassen AC, Rose M, Manganello JA, Leader AE. Identifying HPV vaccine narrative communication needs among parents on social media. Preventive Medicine Reports. 2021.

  • Patil U, Kostareva U, Hadley M, Manganello JA, Okan O, Dadaczynski K, Massey PM, Agner J, Sentell T. Health literacy, digital health literacy, and COVID-19 pandemic attitudes and behaviors in U.S. college students: Implications for interventions. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2021; 18(6):3301.

  • Massey PM, Kearney MD, Hauer M, Selvan P, Koku E, Leader AE. Dimensions of misinformation about the HPV vaccine on Instagram: Content and network analysis of social media characteristics. Journal of Medical Internet Research. 2020; 22(12):e21451.

  • Leader AE, Burke-Garcia A, Massey PM, Roark J. Understanding the Messages and Motivation of Vaccine Hesitant or Refusing Social Media Influencers. Vaccine. 2020.

  • Kearney MD, Chiang SC, Massey PM. The Twitter origins and evolution of the COVID-19 “plandemic” conspiracy theory. Harvard Kennedy School (HSK) Misinformation Review. 2020.

  • Massey PM, Kim MC, Dalrymple P, Rogers M, Hawthorne K, Manganello J. Visualizing patterns and trends of 25 years of published health literacy research. HLRP: Health Literacy Research and Practice. 2017; 1(4):e182-e191.

  • Massey PM, Langellier BA, Sentell T, Manganello J. Nativity and language preference as drivers of health information seeking: examining differences and trends from a U.S. population-based survey. Ethnicity and Health. 2017; 22(6):596-609. doi:10.1080/13557858.2016.1244745

  • Massey PM, Leader A, Yom-Tov E, Budenz A, Fisher K, Klassen AC. Applying multiple data collection methods to quantify HPV vaccine communication on Twitter. Journal of Medical Internet Research. 2016; 18(12):e318. doi:10.2196/jmir.6670

  • Massey PM, Prelip M, Calimlim B, Quiter E, Glik D.C. Contextualizing an expanded definition of health literacy among adolescents in the health care setting. Health Education Research. 2012; 27(6):961-974. doi:10.1093/her/cys054. PMCID: PMC3498601