Current Work in Progress

Undercared-for Chronic Suffering

My collaborators and I are studying patients’ experiences with contested, medically unexplained symptoms and conditions, which I have termed undercared-for chronic suffering. By focusing on the effects of the biological uncertainty behind these symptoms, rather than the uncertainty itself, we think our qualitative systematic review and prospective study can lend legitimacy to these patients’ social and physical experiences with illness and can suggest policies that support careful and kind care.

Rhetorical Listening

Listening remains understudied in communication research writ large and is crucial to the art of medicine, with significant consequences for patients, clinicians, and the quality of care patients receive. While patient-clinician communication is widely recognized as important and worthy of support, most initiatives on improving clinical communication focus primarily (or even solely) on how clinicians should speak to and share information with patients—implying that communication is a one-way matter of imparting information and overlooking the fact that what is said must also be heard and understood.

In shared decision making, listening is all the more important as a means for actively engaging patients, allowing them to form and communicate their preferences for their care. Moreover, listening is also crucial to patients feeling respected in clinical encounters—and there are well-documented disparities in patients’ feeling respected in medical decision making among racial, ethnic, and sexual minorities and women.

Our study considers a rhetorical approach to listening, or the idea that listening is most successful when listeners actively listen not just with their own intent but for others’ intent. In rhetoric studies, “rhetorical listening” has been recognized as a means to understand and address the gaps in communication that often occur across cultural contexts (e.g., race, gender), making it a particularly helpful framework for listening interventions that serve diverse populations. In our study we seek to (1) describe how well clinicians are listening to what patients have to say in shared decision making encounters and (2) propose principles to guide localized interventions that coach clinicians on rhetorical listening.

Dissertation Abstract

In my dissertation, Toward a Relational Theory of Invention, I argue that rhetorical invention— the constellation of practices and theories involved in discovering or gathering ideas—can be productively theorized as relational. A relational invention is a means of relating to others and to the world; rather than being concerned with origins, it envisions inventive agency as distributed amongst an assemblage of both human and nonhuman actors, like composers, texts, objects, feelings, and sensations. Because it as an emergent method of response, a relational approach to invention invites composers to more closely attune to potentiality and becoming, as well as adapt to and interact with others in an entangled network.

Link to dissertation on OhioLINK


Articles in Rhetoric and Composition

Peitho journal logoMorris, Janine, Hannah J. Rule, and Christina M. LaVecchia. “Writing Groups as Feminist Practice.” Peitho, vol. 22, no. 3, 2020.

Blewett, Kelly, Christina M. LaVecchia, Laura R. Micciche, and Janine Morris. “Editing as Inclusion Activism.” Scholarly Editing: History, Performance, Future, special issue of College English, vol. 81, no. 4, March 2019.

composition forum logoLaVecchia, Christina M. “Toward a Materially Engaged Pedagogy of Listening.” Composition Forum, vol. 35, Spring 2017.

of peerentingLaVecchia, Christina M. “Of Peerenting, Trophy Wives, and Effeminate Men: Modern Family’s Surprisingly Conservative Remediation of the Family Sitcom Genre.” Harlot: A Revealing Look at the Arts of Persuasion, vol. 6, Spring 2011.

  • How Writing Works coverRepublished in How Writing Works: With Readings. Edited by Jordynn Jack and Katie Rose Guest Pryal, 1st ed., Oxford UP, 2014, pp. 751–6.

Articles in Healthcare

Cover of Mayo Clinic Proceedings: Innovations, Quality, & OutcomesEspinoza-Suarez, Nataly R., Christina M. LaVecchia, Oscar J. Ponce, Karen M. Fischer, Patrick M. Wilson, Celia C. Kamath, Annie LeBlanc, Victor M. Montori, and Juan P. Brito. “Using Shared Decision Making Tools and Patient-Clinician Conversations about Costs.” Mayo Clinic Proceedings: Innovations, Quality & Outcomes, vol. 4, no. 4, pp. 416–23. doi: 10.1016/j.mayocpiqo.2020.04.013

Patient Education and Counseling journal coverHargraves, Ian G., Victor M. Montori, Juan P. Brito, Marleen Kunneman, Kevin Shaw, Christina M. LaVecchia, Michael Wilson, Laura Walker, and Bjorg Thorsteindottir. “A Problem-Based Approach to Caring for Patients with Shared Decision Making: A Narrative Review.” Patient Education and Counseling, vol. 102, no. 10, 2019, pp. 1786-92. doi: 10.1016/j.pec.2019.07.020

Health Expectations cover imageKunneman, Marleen, Christina M. LaVecchia, Naykky Sign Ospina, Abd Moain Abu Dabrh, Emma M. Behnken, Patrick Wilson, Megan E. Branda, Ian G. Hargraves, Kathleen J. Yost, Richard M. Frankel, and Victor M. Montori. “Reflecting on Shared Decision Making: A Reflection-Quantification Study.” Health Expectations, vol. 22, 2019, pp. 1165– 1172. doi: 10.1111/hex.12953


Cover of Explanation Points collection

LaVecchia, Christina M., Laura R. Micciche, and Janine Morris. “Ruthless, Fussy, Alert: A Quick Guide to Copyediting.” Explanation Points: Publishing in Rhetoric and Composition, edited by John Gallagher and Dànielle Nicole DeVoss, Utah State UP, 2019, pp. 283-86.

man sits at computer editing videoDeWitt, Scott Lloyd, Brian Harmon, Dundee Lackey, and Christina M. LaVecchia. “Techne in 60: The History and Practice of the Concept in 60.” Showcasing the Best of CIWIC/DMAC: Approaches to Teaching and Learning in Digital Environments, edited by Cynthia L. Selfe, Scott Lloyd DeWitt, and Trey Conatser, no. 1, Spring/Summer 2015.


LaVecchia, Christima M. “Book Review of Phyllis Mentzell Ryder’s Rhetorics for Community Action: Public Writing and Writing Publics.” Community Literacy Journal, vol. 6, no. 2, Fall 2012, pp. 145–9.


LaVecchia, Christina M. “Teacher Statement on ‘Concept in 60’ Assignment.” Queen City Writers: Showcasing Outstanding Student Work, vol. 3, no.1, 2014.

LaVecchia, Christina, Janine Morris, Carla Sarr, and Jim Ridolfo. “A Report on the 2012–13 Composition and Rhetoric Category of the MLA Job Information List.” Rhetmap: Mapping Rhetoric and Composition, Sept. 2013.

Malek, Joyce, Cynthia Ris, Catherine O’Shea and Christina LaVecchia, editors. Student Guide to English Composition 1001, 2012-2014. Hayden-McNeil, 2012.


SaveSaveLaVecchia, Christina M., Laura R. Micciche, and Janine Morris. “Ruthless, Fussy, Alert: A Quick
Guide to Copyediting.” Explanation Points: Publishing in Rhetoric and Composition, edited
by John Gallagher and Dànielle Nicole DeVoss. Collection forthcoming.