Janelle Applequist

Associate Professor


Office: CIS 3099


  • Ph.D. in Mass Communications (Penn State University)
  • M.A. in Media Studies (Penn State University)
  • B.A. in Journalism & Psychology minor (Penn State University)


Janelle Applequist is an associate professor of advertising and public relations in the Zimmerman School of Advertising & Mass Communications. She earned her Ph.D. in mass communications from the Pennsylvania State University in 2015. She taught and researched at Penn State, where she also received her B.A. and M.A. degrees, prior to joining the faculty here at USF.

As a researcher focused on health communication and advertising, Dr. Applequist is interested in the pharmaceutical industry, especially in regards to developing more normative frameworks to encourage proper patient education. Her research explores the content of pharmaceutical advertisements, legal compliance with Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requirements, and issues of representation related to patients and health care in these advertisements. Other research interests include qualitative research methods, advertising, and patient representations via advertising.

Dr. Applequist has published two books since joining the faculty at USF. She is the author of Broadcast Pharmaceutical Advertising in the United States: Primetime Pill Pushers (2016, Lexington Books) and co-author of CTE, Media, and the NFL: Framing a Public Health Crisis as a Football Epidemic (2019, Lexington Books).

Dr. Applequist has presented her research to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), along with presenting at a number of conferences, including forums abroad in Australia and Italy. Her research has been published in numerous outlets, including Annals of Family Medicine, Journal of Health Communication, Qualitative Health Research, International Journal of Advertising, Journal of Health Organization and Medicine, and others.

As Principal Investigator (PI) on two junior faculty level university grants, she has laid the groundwork for developing effective communication strategies in the field of health communication. Most recently, Dr. Applequist served as a faculty consultant for the Health Informatics Institute at the University of South Florida, where she investigated the use of large-scale direct-to-patient recruitment strategies for six clinical trials.

Dr. Applequist was recently nominated and received an Academician Consultant role on the FDA’s Patient Engagement Advisory Committee, where she will attend various hearings and meetings in Washington, D.C., to provide her expertise on the following topics: agency guidance and policies, clinical trial or registry design, patient preference study design, benefit-risk determinations, device labeling, unmet clinical needs, available alternatives, patient reported outcomes and device-related quality of life or health status issues, and other patient-related topics.

Finally, Dr. Applequist is especially passionate about her teaching and is currently an undergraduate and graduate faculty member. She teaches graduate Qualitative Research Methods in Mass Communications as well as the Proseminar for the department’s new M.S. in Advertising at the graduate level. She teaches Introduction to Advertising at the undergraduate level.


advertising, pharmaceutical advertising, qualitative research methods, health communication