John R. Finnegan, PhD

Professor and Dean Emeritus, School of Public Health

John R. Finnegan

Contact Info

Mailing Address:
420 Delaware St SE
MMC 197 Mayo
Minneapolis, MN 55455

Administrative Phone

Administrative Email

PhD, Mass Communication, University of Minnesota, 1985

MA, Mass Communication, University of Minnesota, 1978

BA, English, College of St. Thomas, 1972


My connection with the School of Public Health began in 1980, when I joined the Minnesota Heart Health Program as a student research assistant. Public health was not part of my career plans but my experience with this innovative community health promotion campaign changed that quickly. I found terrific colleagues of diverse disciplines with passion for important research and education for the people’s health. My skill set in communication campaigns fit right in. This was home.

I've been SPH dean since 2005. Every day, we strive to improve the school’s environment for the best discovery, learning, and community engagement we can achieve for the public’s health. As a land-grant university, we value our role supporting an educated citizenry and in transforming discovery that benefits people here at home and around the world. 


Media, communication, and community health promotion; social and behavioral interventions; social marketing 

Awards & Recognition

  • The Albert Justus Chesley Award for Distinguished Service in the Field of Public Health in the State of Minnesota, Minnesota Public Health Association, 2012
  • Distinguished Career Award, Public Health Education and Health Promotion, American Public Health Association, 2007
  • Delta Omega, Pi Chapter, Honorary Scholarly Society in Public Heatlh



Community Engagement

I have joined with community organizations for many years in the issues of housing, social services, and challenges facing immigrant and refugee communities. Today I serve on the board of HealthEast Care System, HealthPartners Research and Education Institute, and the Backyard Initiative Community Advisory Board (supported by Allina Health). I also serve as board chair for Children’s HeartLink, and past board chair of the international Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health (ASPPH).


In The News

In The Media:

  • University of Minnesota focuses on enlisting bystanders to fight sexual assault (Star Tribune)
  • Mental Health Issues and Sexual Assault Reports Surge at U of M (KSTP TV)
  • UMN sexual assault prevention training updated for older students (Minnesota Daily)
  • Florida school shooting: Does 'national emergency' warrant national response? (The Christian Science Monitor)
  • University of Minnesota works to prevent sexual assault (Rochester Post Bulletin)
  • University of Minnesota calls for 'bystander intervention' training to end sex assaults (Star Tribune)
  • University-hosted conference aims to shift conversation around gun violence (MnDaily)