Institute for Public Relations
IPR is featuring some of the many Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) pioneers who have had a significant impact on the field of public relations in celebration of AAPI Heritage Month.

Bey-Ling Sha, Ph.D., APR, is serving as the Dean of the College of Communications at California State University, Fullerton. Her work has influenced public relations scholarship, education, and practice. She received her Ph.D. in mass communication from the University of Maryland, College Park.

Dr. Sha worked as a public affairs officer for the U.S. Census Bureau, prior to becoming a full-time educator. She helped oversee the execution and evaluation of the promotional campaign for the 2000 census, which won a 2001 Silver Anvil Award of Excellence from PRSA. She also served as the editor-in-chief for the Journal of Public Relations Research and the chair of the Universal Accreditation Board.

Dr. Sha’s primary research program examines the intersection of identity and public relations. Dr. Sha is a pioneer in public relations and has been the first Asian, Pacific Islander, or Desi American (APIDA) to win numerous awards and achievements including:
  • First APIDA to win PRSA Outstanding Educator of the Year
  • First APIDA to author/co-author a major public relations textbook
  • First APIDA to serve as the Director of the San Diego State University School of Journalism and Media Studies
  • First APIDA female to win the IPR Pathfinder Award for lifetime achievement in research
  • First APIDA Dean, CSUF College of Communications
In 2019, Dr. Sha was honored by the Public Relations Society of America with its D. Parke Gibson Pioneer Award, which is the society’s “highest individual honor presented to a PR professional who has contributed to increased awareness of public relations within multicultural communities and has participated in promoting issues that meet the needs of these diverse communities.”

Dr. Sha continues to contribute exceptional scholarship, innovation, and service to the public relations field.

Institute for Public Relations
Studies have shown that nearly 1 in 5 Americans will experience a mental illness in a given year and mental illness is the leading cause of disability in the United States.

As May is Mental Health Awareness Month, the IPR Center for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion is launching a Mental Health Resources page to help support individuals and organizations globally.   
This new CDEI Mental Health Resources page features three categories: 
  • Resources for Individuals 
  • Resources for Organizations  
  • Global and Country-Specific Resources 

This summary is provided by the IPR Organizational Communication Research Center.
The relationship between organizational psychology and internal communication has never been more critical than it is today. COVID-19 continues to test the relevance and adaptability of internal communication. As some companies prepare to return workers to the office after over a year of working remotely, understanding what employees are thinking and feeling are critical to ensuring a successful transition. 
In a recent case study of a Middle Eastern company, I discussed how using multiple psychological models to develop internal communication strategies can support a successful return to the office. By leveraging psychological research from the SARS outbreak and employing behavioral neuroeconomics, this company successfully returned roughly 50k employees to offices and sites from June 2020 to February 2021.
Research conducted throughout the process validated that employees understood the measures taken to ensure their safety, felt the company was demonstrating its espoused values in its response, and were confident in the health of the work environment.
The Harris Poll surveyed 2,096 U.S. adults about their attitudes toward the COVID-19 vaccination from April 30-May 2 as part of its weekly COVID-19 tracker.

Key findings include:
  • 23% of respondents say they believe one dose is enough to keep them safe.
  • 34% of Americans report wanting to make sure they don’t have any negative side effects from the first dose before receiving their second dose.
  • 23% of Gen Z is more likely to prolong getting a second dose, while 19% of those who wish to “wait and see” are more likely to skip the second dose completely.
  • When considering whom to trust for information about the vaccine, Americans trust doctors/nurses (84%), nationally recognized hospitals (82%), and local hospitals (80%) the most.
  • Respondents trust social media (36%) and national media (52%) the least.

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