Sarah Gollust, PhD

Associate Professor, Division of Health Policy and Management

Sarah Gollust

Contact Info

Office Phone 612-626-2618

Office Address:
15-232 Phillips-Wangensteen Building

Mailing Address:
420 Delaware St SE
MMC 729 Mayo
Minneapolis, MN 55455

PhD, Health Services Organization and Policy, University of Michigan, 2008

BA, Biology, Wesleyan University, 2001


Public health research identifies numerous potential opportunities to improve population health. Yet when it comes to translating this research into policies and programs to improve public health, roadblocks emerge. My work looks to examine processes through which health information gets translated into the media, shapes public attitudes and opinions, and influences the health policy process. By describing the political, social, ethical, and psychological factors that moderate this process – and often pose as barriers – my research yields insight into how communication to the public and policymakers can be more effective. I have applied this research approach to several important public health challenges, including policies to address obesity, health disparities, the Affordable Care Act, and cancer screening and prevention. 


Equity, politics, public opinion, communication, media 

Awards & Recognition

  • McKnight Land-Grant Professor, University of Minnesota, 2014-2016
  • Delta Omega Honorary Society in Public Health, 2014


Research Funding Grants

Selected Grants

  • 1/1/20-12/31/21, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, "Media Research Synthesis to Build a Culture of Health", Principal Investigator
  • 4/1/19-8/31/20, Russell Sage Foundation, "Media Messaging about the Affordable Care Act during Political Upheaval", Co-Principal Investigator
  • 12/15/18-12/14/21, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, "Testing Strategies to Communicate Evidence about Toxic Stress While Minimizing Stigma towards Children and Families". Co-Principal Investigator
  • 1/15–12/18, American Cancer Society, Research Scholar Grant, "Effects of Media Controversies on Public Attitudes about Cancer Prevention," Principal Investigator
  • 4/16–8/17, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, "Interdisciplinary Research Leaders," Associate Director
  • 6/13–5/18, Veterans Affairs, "Enhancing Motivation of Providers on Work to Eliminate Racial Disparity (EMPOWER)," Co-Investigator


Selected Publications

  • Gollust SE, Vogel RI, Rothman A, Yzer M, Fowler EF, Nagler RH. Americans’ Perceptions of Disparities in COVID-19 Mortality: Results from a Nationally-Representative Survey. Preventive Medicine. 2020; 141: 106278.
  • Gollust SE, Saloner B, Hest R, Blewett LA. US Adults’ Preferences for Public Allocation of a Vaccine for Coronavirus Disease 2019. JAMA Network Open. 2020; 3(9):e2023020.
  • Gollust SE, Nagler RH, Fowler EF. The Emergence of COVID-19 in the U.S: A Public Health and Political Communication Crisis. Journal of Health Politics, Policy, and Law. 2020; 45(6):967-981.
  • Gollust SE, Fowler EF, Niederdeppe J. Ten Years of Messaging about the Affordable Care Act in Advertising and News Media: Lessons for Policy and Politics. Journal of Health Politics, Policy, and Law. 2020; 45(5):711-728.
  • Gollust SE and Miller JM. Framing the Opioids Crisis: Do Racial Frames Shape Beliefs of Whites Losing Ground? Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law. 2020. 45(2): 241-276.
  • Gollust SE, Fowler EF, Niederdeppe J. Television News Coverage of Public Health Issues and Implications for Public Health Policy and Practice. Annual Review of Public Health. 2019. 40: 167-185.


Teaching Areas

I teach public health ethics and health policy analysis courses. I also serve as advisor or committee member for master’s and doctoral students across the School of Public Health and other departments and colleges as well.


  • PubH 6741, Ethics in Public Health
  • PubH 8802, Health Services Policy Analysis: Applications

Community Engagement

I have been invited to share my work on framing and public opinion regarding public health issues to community and policy organizations locally and nationally, such as the Minnesota Department of Health, the American Heart Association, and the Institute of Medicine.

I have a number of appointments across the University of Minnesota:


In The News

SPH News

In the Media

  • Obamacare: Death by a thousand advertising cuts (Forbes)
  • It’s a primary day: The contests we’re watching (Politico)
  • Episode 81, ACA Enrollment [Segment starts at 24:20] (PulseCheck Podcast from Politico)
  • Trump cut advertising for Obamacare by 90%. A forthcoming study shows that could be a big problem (BuzzFeed News)
  • Most women aren't aware of cancer overdiagnosis risks, UMN study says (MnDaily)
  • What happens when you cut Obamacare advertising? Let's ask Kentucky (Vox)
  • This is what Americans will really dislike about the House “Trumpcare” bill (Washington Post, commentary)
  • How open should presidential candidates be about their health? (BioEdge)
  • The public doesn’t need to see candidates’ health records. (The New York Times)
  • HPV vaccine has slow entry into public health policy. Health Talk