Seth M. Noar joined the UNC School of Media and Journalism in July 2011. He also is a member of UNC’s Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Noar’s research interests are centered in health communication, particularly how to harness traditional and new media to promote healthy behavioral changes among individuals and communities. This type of research involves understanding and applying behavioral theories that advance our understanding of the behavior change process; testing message design theories and frameworks to best understand what types of messages will be most resonant and persuasive with target audiences; and evaluating interventions in carefully designed randomized and quasi-experimental trials.

For more than a decade, much of Noar’s research was focused in the HIV/AIDS area. He worked on National Institutes of Health (NIH) projects developing and evaluating televised media campaigns to increase safer sexual behaviors. He was also the principal investigator on a National Institute of Mental Health-funded project testing the ability of a computer-delivered intervention to increase correct and consistent condom use among African Americans visiting an STD clinic.

Noar’s research has recently been more focused on cancer prevention. He has conducted research to advance an understanding of the impact of celebrity cancer diagnoses on media and person outcomes; how a combination of environmental changes and social marketing can impact fruit and vegetable consumption among elementary students; and how various belief systems of adolescent and young adult females affect their decision-making about indoor tanning behavior. Noar is also conducting significant research on anti-tobacco messages, including graphic warning labels on cigarette packs. He is the co-director of the Communication Core for the UNC Center for Regulatory Research on Tobacco Communication, funded by an FDA/NIH grant from 2013-2018.

Before coming to Carolina, Noar was an associate professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Kentucky. He had a secondary appointment in the UK College of Public Health’s Department of Health Behavior.

Noar has co-edited two books, “Communication Perspectives on HIV/AIDS for the 21st Century” (2008) with Drs. Timothy Edgar and Vicki Freimuth, and “eHealth Applications: Promising Strategies for Behavior Change” (2012) with Dr. Nancy Harrington. His work has been published in numerous peer-reviewed outlets, including Human Communication Research, Health Communication, Journal of Health Communication, Health Education Research, Psychological Bulletin, AIDS, Social Science & Medicine, Journal of the National Cancer Institute, and JAMA Dermatology, among others.


  • Ph.D., University of Rhode Island
  • M.A., University of Rhode Island
  • B.S., University of Rhode Island


  • Noar, S.M., Rohde, J. A., Horvitz, C., Lazard, A., Cornacchione Ross, J., & Suftin, E L. (2018). Adolescents’ receptivity to e-cigarette harms messages delivered using text messaging. Addictive Behaviors. doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2018.05.025.
  • Noar, S. M., Hall, M. G., Francis, D., Ribisl, K. M., Pepper, J. K., & Brewer, N. T. (2016). Pictorial cigarette pack warnings: A meta-analysis of experimental studies. Tobacco Control, 25(3) 341-354.
  • Noar, S. M., Myrick, J. G., Morales-Pico, B., & Thomas, N. (2014). Development and validation of the comprehensive indoor tanning expectations scale. JAMA Dermatology, 150(5), 512-521.
  • Noar, S. M., & Harrington, N. G. (Eds.) (2012). eHealth applications: Promising strategies for behavior change. New York: Routledge.
  • Edgar, T., Noar, S. M., & Freimuth, V. S. (Eds.) (2008). Communication perspectives on HIV/AIDS for the 21st century. New York: Lawrence Erlbaum.