John R. Finnegan Jr. PhD » Faculty

Research Interests:Media communication and public health; community campaigns; the “Knowledge Gap” and health outcomes; digital information technology and its impact on public health.

Professor & Dean, School of Public Health, Epidemiology & Community Health

Work SPH Dean\\’s Office, Mayo Building MMC 197, 420 Delaware St SE Minneapolis MN 55455 United States Work Phone: 612-625-1179
Photo of John R. Finnegan Jr. PhD


Finnegan grew up in Minnesota and worked as a journalist until the late 1970s. While working on his PhD at the UMN, he joined the Minnesota Heart Health Program working as a media writer and producer under Henry Blackburn and Russell Luepker. In 1985, he joined the SPH faculty in Epidemiology and developed a research focus on media, campaigns and community-based interventions in public health. He became SPH Dean in 2005.

  • Ph.D. Mass Communication, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN
  • M.A. Mass Communication, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN
  • B.A. English, College of St. Thomas, St. Paul, MN

Professional Experience:

  • Dean, 2005 to Present
  • Associate Dean for Research & Academic Affairs, 2003-2004
  • Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, 1998-2003


Distinguished Career Award, APHA Public Health Education and Health Promotion Section, 2007.

Selected Publications:

  • Finnegan JR (2011 Jun). Global health: expanding on Minnesota’s public health legacy. Minnesota Healthcare News 9:6, 16-17; 19.
  • Finnegan JR (2009 Aug). Public health on the front lines: Reframing and expanding the health reform discussion. Minnesota Physician, 23:5, 20-21.
  • Maruyama G., Jones RJ, Finnegan JR (2009). An Urban agenda for urban universities: principles and experiences of an urban land-grant university. Metropolitan Universities Journal 20: 1, 75-100.
  • Finnegan, JR and Viswanath, K. (2008). Communication theory and health behavior change: the media studies framework. In K. Glantz, et al (eds.) Health Behavior and Health Education: Theory, Research and Practice, 4ed. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
  • Finnegan JR (2007). Secular Social Change. In The International Encyclopedia of Communication, Wolfgang Donsbach (ed), New York: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing.
  • Viswanath K, Whitney R, Finnegan JR (2006). Social capital and health: civic engagement, community size, and recall of health messages. AJPH Aug;96(8):1456-61.