About the University

University of Michigan


About the University of Michigan

The University of Michigan was founded in 1817 as the first public university in the Northwest Territories. Today, U-M is a leader in higher education and one of the most distinguished public universities in existence, attracting top students and faculty from across the globe. With nearly 545,000 living alumni, graduates become part of a strong network that includes the first American to walk in space, the creator of the iPod, the co-founder of Google, and the 38th U.S. president. From earning election to the National Academy of Science to winning the Nobel Prize, U-M’s world-class faculty research not only attracts attention, it changes the world.





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About the School of Public Health

The University of Michigan School of Public Health is pursuing a healthier world with compassion, innovation, and inclusion to create meaningful, lasting impact.

  • We believe in compassion. Our work is born from compassion, leading to knowledge, research, and action.
  • We believe in innovation. We've seen a better future, it's why we are driven to help. Through creative problem-solving and innovative thinking we lay the groundwork for a healthier world.
  • We believe in inclusion. We work with diverse talents across campus and across the world to bring more than ideas; we partner to create lasting solutions.
  • We pursue impact. The ultimate goal of our work is to create positive change and have a lasting effect on the health of the world.

Featured Faculty

Sharon L.R. Kardia, PhD

Sharon L.R. Kardia, PhD

Millicent W. Higgins Collegiate Professor of Epidemiology, Associate Dean for Education

Dr. Kardia earned a master’s degree in Statistics and a doctorate in Human Genetics, both from the University of Michigan. She has 30+ years of experience in the epidemiology of common chronic diseases and has authored over 300 publications. A major emphasis of her work has been on the target organ damage associated with untreated and uncontrolled hypertension. Other areas of interest include the genetic epidemiology of common chronic diseases and their risk factors, gene-environment and gene-gene interactions, and the development of novel analytical strategies to understand the complex relationship between genetic variation, environmental variation, and risk of common chronic diseases. Her research utilizes genomic, epigenomic, transcriptomic, and proteomic measures on large epidemiological cohorts.

Dr. Kardia serves as director for the online MPH. She is excited to teach PUBHLTH 515 Population Health - one of the program’s core courses that online students enroll in during their second semester of the program. Dr. Kardia also teaches the applied practice and integrative experience course which students complete during the final two semesters of the program.

In her spare time Dr. Kardia enjoys gardening, watching YouTube videos on quantum mechanics, bird watching, and napping on rainy days.

Brian Zikmund-Fisher, PhD

Brian Zikmund-Fisher, PhD

Associate Professor of Health Behavior and Health Education

Dr. Zikmund-Fisher received his master’s degree in Behavioral Decision Making and Economics and his doctorate in Behavioral Decision Theory from Carnegie Mellon University. He is an Associate Director of the U-M Center for Bioethics and Social Sciences in Medicine and a core faculty member of the U-M Health Informatics program. He serves as an associate editor for the journals Medical Decision Making and Medical Decision Making: Policy & Practice.

Dr. Zikmund-Fisher uses his interdisciplinary background in decision psychology and behavioral economics to study factors that affect individual decision making about a variety of health and medical issues, with a particular emphasis on health risk perceptions. His research in health communications focuses on making risk statistics, test results, and other types of quantitative health information meaningful and useful for decision making by patients and the public. He also studies the use of narratives (stories) in health communications, patient preferences for more versus less health care, and how to train people to communicate effectively with non-scientist audiences.

Dr. Zikmund-Fisher teaches graduate courses that focus on enabling students to communicate health and science information clearly and memorably. He is exploring the use of improvisational theater games as tools for building health and science communication skills.

Dr. Zikmund-Fisher enjoys good chocolate, most East Asian foods, and juggles for stress relief.

Students enrolled in the online MPH will meet Dr. Zikmund-Fisher during their second semester in the program. He is excited to teach one of the required core courses - PUBHLTH 510 Communication Fundamentals. Dr. Zikmund-Fisher also teaches Clear Health Communication, a course offered to students who plan to complete the Health Behavior and Health Education series of electives.

Thomas Braun, PhD

Thomas Braun, PhD

Professor of Biostatistics

Dr. Braun received his doctorate in Biostatistics from the University of Washington and joined the University of Michigan faculty that same year. Prior to his graduate studies in Seattle, Dr. Braun was an actuary with Metropolitan Life Insurance Company. Over the past 20 years, Dr. Braun has taught several biostatistics courses for the School of Public Health and has served as the primary statistician for clinical studies at the University of Michigan School of Dentistry and the Blood and Marrow Transplant Program at the University of Michigan Rogel Cancer Center. He is the author of nearly 150 collaborative and methodologic papers.

Dr. Braun's current research interests include: (1) adaptive phase I trial design methodology, including optimizing schedule of administration, accommodating patient heterogeneity, and incorporating multiple toxicity grades; (2) Bayesian methodology and designs for clinical trials in rare diseases; and (3) residual-based permutation tests for complex modeling settings.

Students enrolled in the online MPH will meet Dr. Braun during their first semester of the program. He is excited to teach one of the program’s core courses - BIOSTAT 501 Introduction to Biostatistics.

In his spare time, Dr. Braun coaches and plays as much volleyball as possible, plays and composes music for the piano, and seeks to one day become fluent in Spanish.

Cleopatra Caldwell, PhD

Cleopatra Caldwell, PhD

Professor and Chair of Health Behavior and Health Education

Dr. Caldwell earned a master’s degree in Human Development from Wayne State University and a Ph.D. and masters degree in Social Psychology from the University of Michigan. Her research interests include improving adolescent health through strengthening family relationships, research methods in African-American communities and family relationships, and discrimination and the mental health of African-American and Caribbean-American adolescents.

As a social psychologist, Dr. Caldwell’s expertise is in psychosocial and environmental factors influencing the health and well-being of Black populations. She has experience developing academic-community partnerships to design and evaluate health interventions for African-American youth and their families. Dr. Caldwell has published in a number of areas including the influence of social relationships and social identities on the health and well-being of Black adolescents, the role of paternal support, racial discrimination, and racial identity attitudes as risks or protective factors for adolescent risky behaviors, and fatherhood as a context for understanding men's health.

Students enrolled in the online MPH program will meet Dr. Caldwell during their first semester of coursework. She is excited to teach PUBHLTH 508 Social Determinants of Health - one of the program’s core courses.

Dana Dolinoy, PhD

Dana Dolinoy, PhD

Professor and Chair of Environmental Health Sciences

Dr. Dolinoy earned a master’s degree in Environmental Health and Risk Management from Harvard University and a doctorate in Genetics and Genomics and Integrated Toxicology from Duke University. She leads the Environmental Epigenetics and Nutrition Laboratory, which investigates how nutritional and environmental factors interact with epigenetic gene regulation to shape health and disease. She serves as an associate editor for a number of journals including Environmental Epigenetics, Environmental Health Perspectives, and Toxicological Sciences. Dr. Dolinoy received the 2015 NIH Director's Transformative Research Award to develop novel epigenetic editing tools to reduce disease risk and and the 2018 Society of Toxicology Achievement Award. She recently edited the book ToxicoEpigenetics: Core Principles and Applications.

Dr. Dolinoy co-teaches NUTR 590 - Developmental Origins of Health and Disease, a course offered in the Maternal and Child Nutrition elective series. Dr. Dolinoy also teaches doctoral students strategies for effective research and communication in the environmental health and nutritional sciences.

In the summer Dr. Dolinoy takes advantage of the Michigan long days by paddle boarding and kayaking the chains of lakes near Ann Arbor. She enjoys camping with her family and never misses a chance to find a geocache.

Cindy Leung, ScD, MPH

Cindy Leung, ScD, MPH

Assistant Professor of Nutritional Sciences

Dr. Leung earned a Master of Public Health from the University of California, Berkeley and a Doctor of Science in Nutrition and Epidemiology from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. She serves as an assistant professor with the School of Public Health's Department of Nutritional Science. Additionally, she holds an adjunct appointment at the UC Berkeley School of Public Health.

Dr. Leung’s research focuses on diet and health disparities in vulnerable populations, with a particular focus on the experience of food insecurity and its impact on health behaviors and health outcomes. Using qualitative and quantitative research methods, her research focuses on three primary areas: (1) understanding stress as a novel mechanism underlying food insecurity and children's risk of obesity; (2) evaluating the impact of participating in federal food programs on dietary behaviors and chronic disease risk; and (3) assessing stakeholder-supported strategies for improving federal food policy. At U-M, she is also leading a series of research studies to understand the impact of food insecurity on college students’ health, well-being, and academic performance.

Students in the online MPH program will meet Dr. Leung during the first semester of the program. She co-teaches PUBHLTH 511 Nutrition and Public Health – one of the program’s core courses, as well as a course on food security in the Nutritional Sciences elective series.

Dr. Leung is a San Francisco native, who has recently embraced Midwestern living. In her spare time, she enjoys exploring the state with her family, indoor cycling, and learning more about the local food landscape.

William D. Lopez, PhD

William D. Lopez, PhD

Clinical Assistant Professor of Health Behavior and Health Education

Dr. Lopez received his MPH in Management, Policy and Community Health from the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston and his PhD in Health Behavior and Health Education from the University of Michigan. His current research considers the ways in which immigration law enforcement impacts health in mixed-status communities as well as how communities respond to large scale immigration work raids. He authored the book Separated: Family and Community in the Aftermath of an Immigration Raid, published by Johns Hopkins University Press.

Dr. Lopez teaches HBHE 591 - Planning and Implementing Health Promotion Programs, a course in the Health Behavior and Health Education series of electives for the online MPH program.

In his spare time, Dr. Lopez enjoys spending time with his family, writing, and writing about writing.

Alison M. Mondul, PhD

Alison M. Mondul, PhD

Assistant Professor of Epidemiology

Dr. Mondul received her MSPH in Epidemiology from Emory University and her Ph.D. in Cancer Epidemiology from Johns Hopkins University. She spent five years as a postdoctoral fellow in the Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics at the National Cancer Institute before joining the University of Michigan Department of Epidemiology.

Dr. Mondul has devoted her scientific career to studying the role of modifiable risk factors in the etiology of cancer. In particular, she has studied how lifestyle factors (such as use of common medications) and factors related to diet and nutrition (such as micronutrients and lipids) may influence prostate, bladder, and kidney cancers, as well as other genitourinary conditions such as benign prostatic hyperplasia. She has further studied how genetic factors may contribute to or modify these associations. More recently, Dr. Mondul has become involved in studying head and neck cancer, which is an exciting area of inquiry as it remains an understudied cancer. In order to study these associations she has used molecular epidemiologic techniques including hypothesis-driven studies of serum biomarkers, genome-wide association studies, and metabolomic profiling.

Dr. Mondul teaches Surveillance and Publicly Available Datasets, a course in the Epidemiologic Methods series of electives.

In her spare time Dr. Mondul enjoys knitting, tennis, and playing video games with her son. She is also an avid martial artist, having earned her black belt in Taekwondo.

Richard (Rick) Neitzel, PhD, CIH

Richard (Rick) Neitzel, PhD, CIH

Professor and Associate Chair, Environmental Health Sciences

Dr. Neitzel has a master’s of science degree in Environmental Health and a doctorate in Environmental and Occupational Hygiene, both from the University of Washington. He is an exposure scientist whose research focuses on enhancing our understanding of exposures to physical hazards such as noise and injury risks, along with a range of adverse health effects associated with these exposures. For example, did you know that noise exposure has been linked to heart attacks, high blood pressure, injuries, and accidents? Dr. Neitzel is particularly interested in incorporating new methodologies and technologies for measuring exposures into his research, and also has a strong interest in translating his research findings into occupational and public health practice. He has conducted research in locations throughout the U.S., as well as in Sweden, Thailand, Chile, Ghana, and Kuwait. He is a Certified Industrial Hygienist and a Fellow of the American Industrial Hygiene Association.

Dr. Neitzel is excited to teach PUBHLTH 514 - Public Health Sciences and the Environment. Online MPH students enroll in this course during their second semester in the program.

On a personal note, Dr. Neitzel is an avid bicyclist (even in the depths of Michigan winters!), and enjoys exploring the world with his family.

Matthew Zawistowski, PhD

Matthew Zawistowski, PhD

Clinical Assistant Professor of Biostatistics

Dr. Zawistowski earned a doctoral degree in Biostatistics from the University of Michigan, focusing on problems in statistical and population genetics. He develops statistical methods for analyzing genetic variants identified in large-scale genome sequencing studies to better understand human populations and disease. Dr. Zawistowski gained valuable experience working with electronic health records at the Veterans Affairs Ann Arbor Healthcare System. He is currently involved in the Michigan Genomics Initiative, which combines his interests in genomics and phenotyping through electronic health records.

Dr. Zawistowski is passionate about teaching math and statistics. He teaches Applied Longitudinal Analysis, a course in the Analyzing Health Data series of electives for the online MPH program.

When not teaching statistics, Dr. Zawistowski enjoys coaching youth soccer and going fishing.

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