Lillie Williamson

Communication Science

Assistant Professor



6050 Vilas Hall

Lillie Williamson

Expertise and Activities

My research examines the ways in which racial experiences and health communication interact to influence racial health disparities. I have two primary lines of research a) the role of communication in medical mistrust and b) the impact of discrimination on health. Recent projects have investigated the antecedents of medical mistrust; the effects of exposure to vicarious racial discrimination (e.g., news stories about racial discrimination) on medical mistrust, and social support as a buffer to the effects of stressors, such as racial discrimination.


Ph.D. Communication, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2019

M.A. Communication, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2016

B.S. Biology, Psychology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2011


Top Early Career Scholar Paper, Kentucky Conference on Health Communication, 2020


Williamson, L.D. (in press). Beyond personal experiences: Examining mediated vicarious experiences as an antecedent to medical mistrust. Health Communication.

Smith, M.A., Williamson, L.D., & Bigman, C.A. (2020). Can social media news encourage activism? The impact of exposure to mediated discrimination on college students’ activism intention. Social Media + Society. doi:10.1177/2056305120921366

Guntzviller, L.M., Williamson, L.D., & Ratcliff, C.L. (2020). Stress, mental health, and social support among young adult Hispanics. Family & Community Health, 43, 82-91. doi:10.1097/FCH.0000000000000224

Williamson, L.D., Smith, M.A., & Bigman, C.A. (2019). Does discrimination breed mistrust? Examining the role of mediated and non-mediated discrimination experiences in medical mistrust. Journal of Health Communication, 24, 791-799. doi:10.1080/10810730.2019.1669742

McNeil Smith, S., Williamson, L.D., Branch, H., & Fincham, F.D. (2019). Racial discrimination, racism-specific support, and self-reported health among African American couples. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships. (published online ahead of print). doi:10.1177/0265407519878519

Williamson, L.D., Bigman, C.A., & Quick, B.L (2019). A qualitative examination of African Americans’ organ donation-related medical mistrust beliefs. Howard Journal of Communications, 30, 430-445. doi:10.1080/10646175.2018.1512064

Bigman, C.A., Smith, M.A., Williamson, L.D., Planey, A.M., McNeil Smith, S. (2019). Selective sharing on social media: Examining the effects of disparate racial impact frames on intentions to retransmit news stories among U.S. college students. New Media & Society, 21, 2691-2709. doi:10.1177/1461444819856574

Williamson, L.D., & Bigman, C.A. (2018). A systematic review of medical mistrust measures. Patient Education & Counseling, 101, 1786-1794. doi:10.1016/j.pec.2018.05.007

Williamson, L.D., Reynolds-Tylus, T., Quick, B.L., & Shuck, M. (2017). African Americans’ perceptions of organ donation: “Simply boils down to mistrust!” Journal of Applied Communication Research, 45, 199-217. doi:10.1080/00909882.2017.1288293

Scherr, K.A., Fagerlin, A., Hofer, T., Scherer, L., Holmes-Rovner, M., Williamson, L.D., Kahn, V.C., Montgomery, J.S., Greene, K.L., Zhang, B., & Ubel, P.A. (2017). Physician recommendations trump patient preferences in prostate cancer treatment decisions. Medical Decision Making, 37, 56-69. doi:10.1177/0272989X16662841

Scherr, K.A., Fagerlin, A., Wei, J.T., Williamson, L.D., & Ubel, P.A. (2017). Treatment availability influences physicians’ portrayal of robotic surgery during clinical appointmentsHealth Communication, 32, 119-125. doi:10.1080/10410236.2015.1099502

Scherr, K.A., Fagerlin, A., Williamson, L.D., Davis, J.K., Fridman, I., & Ubel, P.A. (2017). The Physician Recommendation Coding System (PhyReCS): A reliable and valid method to quantify the strength of physician recommendations during clinical encounters. Medical Decision Making, 37, 46-55. doi:10.1177/0272989X16654692

Hunter, W.G., Hesson, A., Davis, J.K., Kirby, C., Williamson, L.D., Barnett, J.A., & Ubel, P.A. (2016). Patient-physician discussions about costs: Definitions and impact on cost conversation incidence estimates. BMC Health Services Research, 16, 1-12. doi:10.1186/s12913-016-1353-2

Hunter, W., Zhang, C.Z., Hesson, A., Davis, J.K., Kirby, C., Williamson, L.D., Barnett, J.A., & Ubel, P.A. (2016). What strategies do physicians and patients discuss to reduce out-of-pocket costs? Analysis of cost-saving strategies in 1,755 outpatient clinic visits. Medical Decision Making, 36, 900-910. doi:10.1177/0272989X15626384

Leblanc, T.W., Hesson, A., Williams, A., Feudtner, C., Holmes-Rovner, M., Williamson, L.D., & Ubel, P.A. (2014). Patient understanding of medical jargon: A survey study of U.S. medical students. Patient Education and Counseling, 95, 238-242. doi:10.1016/j.pec.2014.01.014


CA 310 – Introduction to Health Communication

CA 612 – Communication and Health Inequalities