Illness risk perception, including uncertainty about risk perception and its implication for health behavior and risk perception measurement; determinants and consequences of health information avoidance and reducing health information avoidance; health equity, with a focus on health care equity.
Dr. Orom conducts research on risk perception and communicating risk information. Feeling vulnerable to a health threat is a fundamental motivator of protective behavior. Dr. Orom has explored uncertainty about risk which has been understudied, despite that a significant proportion of the population is uncertain about their level of risk for many health threats, sometimes as many as a third to half of all individuals. Dr. Orom and collaborators have demonstrated that ignoring uncertainty in risk perception assessment results in inaccurate assessment of perceived risk and its relationship to protective behavior. Further, uncertainty about perceived risk is itself associated with lower engagement in protective behavior. Dr. Orom explores the causes and consequences of uncertainty about perceived risk and best approaches for communicating to this audience. A second are a of inquiry is health risk information avoidance. This is also common and is a barrier to communicating health risk information. Dr. Orom is conducting research on who avoids health risk information, its consequences and how to disrupt it in order to expand health communication reach. Lastly, Dr. Orom has collaborated on and lead many projects that demonstrate and further our understanding of health inequities. She engages in applied health equity research for local community organizations, assisting with evaluation and other research needs.
Dr. Orom teaches Health Equity (CHB 525/625), a survey of pattern and causes of health inequities affecting a variety of populations including people of color, people with low socioeconomic status, sexual minorities and rural populations along with strategies for eliminating the inequalities. This course is a component of the Micro-credential in Strategies for Eliminating Health Disparities.