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Since earning a master's degree in microbiology from the University of Missouri in 1973, Dena Cox has had a passion for research. Her earliest experience was as a cancer researcher. Several years and two business degrees later, Cox shifted her focus to consumer research, specifically investigating how people make healthcare decisions.
"I am primarily interested in designing decision aids that will help patients make better decisions," says Cox. She has been the principal investigator on a number of grant-funded research projects to investigate the best way to present HPV vaccine information that will help mothers and young women understand the risks and benefits of the vaccine.
Cox is a Professor of Marketing at the IUPUI Kelley School of Business as well as an Adjunct Professor of Pediatrics at the IU School of Medicine, where she teaches in the innovative Physician MBA Program. She earned her BA in Microbiology from The University of Missouri in 1971. She went back to school after earning her MA to complete an MBA from The University of Houston in 1979. She then finished her education by obtaining a Ph.D. in Marketing with a concentration in Cognitive Science from The University of Houston in 1984.
Cox collaborates closely with fellow Kelley marketing professor (and husband) Anthony Cox on a variety of research initiatives. In recent years, the two professors have studied consumer decision making related to mammogram screenings and vaccinations. The Coxes are also co-investigators on several studies directed by Gregory D. Zimet, professor of pediatrics and co-leader of the Cancer Prevention and Control program at the Indiana University School of Medicine. Among them is a study to evaluate messages that are intended to persuade high-risk individuals to receive Hepatitis B vaccinations and a project to discern how people make decisions about getting tested for HIV. Additionally, Cox has researched the effects of direct-to-consumer advertising, specifically targeting the most effective ways to present risk information about treatment interventions and medical products.