Sarah Ray is a communication scientist in RTI’s Center for Communication Science. She has more than 20 years of experience, with expertise in formative research and audience segmentation, mass media research design, reactions to media and marketing messages, evaluating the effectiveness of social marketing campaigns, and analysis of the information environment.
Ms. Ray has led formative research to understand attitudes toward Zika prevention in Guatemala, and the process evaluation for a Zika prevention social marketing campaign in Puerto Rico. She applies her extensive marketing and evaluation skills to assess the effectiveness of campaigns addressing flood preparedness, infectious disease prevention, HIV prevention and testing, tobacco counter-marketing efforts, and healthy eating.
She also has expertise in analysis used to understand the influence of the information environment; her recent research has included assessing social media discourse around emerging infectious diseases—including COVID-19—and drone use by first responders. Ms. Ray also led an analysis of news media to understand its influence on awareness and perceptions of a response to the 2014 Ebola outbreak.
Additionally, Ms. Ray’s work includes research on how patients and health care providers understand and use risk information in prescription drug promotion, such as direct-to-consumer (DTC) advertisements. This work included studying the impact of aging and hearing on comprehension of DTC advertising. She currently leads a project designed to assess how patients understand and perceive boxed warnings and is working to understand how disclosures in prescription drug promotion influence perceptions of included claims.
Ms. Ray is an adjunct Professor at the Gilken School of Public Health, George Washington University and serves as a reviewer for the American Public Health Association (APHA) National Conference on Health Communication, Media, and Marketing.