J. Michael Oakes, PhD

Professor, Division of Epidemiology and Community Health

J. Michael Oakes

Contact Info


Office Phone 612-624-6855

Fax 612-624-0315

Office Address:
300 West Bank Office Building

Mailing Address:
1300 S 2nd St
Minneapolis, MN 55454

Administrative Assistant Name
Libby Fortner

Administrative Phone

Administrative Email

PhD, Sociology (Methodology), University of Massachusetts-Amherst

BBA, Management Economics, University of Massachusetts-Amherst


My research is highly collaborative and transdisciplinary and focuses on three main areas: applied methodology, research ethics, and social epidemiology, which considers how social interactions and collective human activities affect health and how a society's social arrangements can yield different exposures and health outcomes. Within this area, my research has focused on neighborhood effects, socioeconomic status, and intra-family violence.


Equity, methods, policy

Awards & Recognition

  • Member, Delta Omega Honorary Society in Public Health
  • Award for Excellence in Advising, School of Public Health, 2012
  • Leonard Schuman Teaching Award, School of Public Health, 2010
  • McKnight Presidential Fellow, University of Minnesota, 2007–2010


Research Summary/Interests

I'm currently working on several studies: 

  • Establishing and leading the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s new Interdisciplinary Research Leaders (IRL) and working with the RWJF Change Leadership Programs.
  • Working with Dr. Cari Clark (PI) to evaluate the impact of a domestic violence prevention program in Nepal. This is a community-randomized trial.
  • Working with Dr. Lisa Harnack (PI) to evaluate the impact of incentive changes to a model SNAP (i.e., food stamps) program on food purchasing behavior. This is a randomized controlled experiment.
  • Evaluating the magnitude of panel conditioning in an internet-based study to reduce HIV risk in men who have sex with men. This is a randomized controlled experiment embedded in a rather typical internet RCT to assess an intervention.
  • Establishing an easy to use, publicly available, geo-spatial contextual data resource for multilevel health and social science research.

Research Funding Grants

  • 2016–2020, NIH, "HealthPop: A Geocoding, Spatial Workflow and Context," Principal Investigator
  • 2016–2017, RWJF Change Leaders Programs, "Interdisciplinary Research Leaders," Principal Investigator
  • 2015–2017, UK Dept for International Development, "Change Starts at Home: Preventing Violence Against Woman and Girls in Nepal," Co-Investigator
  • 2013–2018, NIH/NICHD, "Experimental Incentives in the SNAP Program," Co-Investigator
  • 2013–2017, NIH, "Designing a Food Benefit Program to Optimize Diet Quality for Obesity Prevention," Co-Investigator
  • 2012–2017, NIH/NICHD, "Integrated Demographic and Health Series Study," Co-Investigator
  • 2010–2017, NIH, "Men's INTernet Study III (MINTS-III) for HIV Prevention," Co-Investigator



Academic Interests and Focus

As a teacher and mentor, I strive to offer my students profound interdisciplinary insights and rigorous training. I mentor a large number of masters, doctoral, and post-doctoral students and (co)teach six graduate-level courses each year. My classroom teaching focuses on courses in applied research methods and social epidemiology.

Teaching Areas

I am the director of graduate studies for the Epidemiology PhD.


  • PubH 6325, Data Processing with PC-SAS
  • PubH 6370, Social Epidemiology


In The News

SPH News

In The Media

  • UTSA researcher selected for National Leadership Program to build a culture of health in South Texas (UTSA Today)