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, food & nutrition, 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

  • 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, Tang X, White JM, French SA, Runge CF, Rothman AJ. "Young Adults' Responses to Alternative Messages Describing a Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Price Increase," Public Health Nutrition, Jan 2017
  • Fowler EF, Baum LM, Barry CL, Niederdeppe J, Gollust SE. "Media Messages and Perceptions of the Affordable Care Act During Early Phase of Implementation," Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law, Oct. 2016
  • Meisel ZF, Gollust SE, Grande D. "Translating Research for Health Policy Decisions: Is It Time for Researchers to Join Social Media?" Academic Medicine, Oct 2016
  • Barry CL, Kennedy Hendricks A, Gollust SE, Niederdeppe J, Bachhuber MA, Webster D, McGinty EE. "Understanding Americans’ Views on Opioid Analgesic Abuse." Addiction. 2016;111(1):85-93.
  • Gollust SE, Qin X, Wilcock AD, Baum LM, Barry CL, Niederdeppe J, Fowler EF, Karaca-Mandic P. "Search and You Shall Find: Geographic Characteristics Associated With Google Searches During the Affordable Care Act's First Enrollment Period," Medical Care Research and Review, July 2016


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