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

Address 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


  • Albert Justus Chesley Award (2012) for Distinguished Service in the Field of Public Health for the State of Minnesota, Minnesota Public Health Association.
  • Distinguished Career Award, APHA Public Health Education and Health Promotion Section, 2007.

Selected Publications:

  • Marjorie Aelion et al (2016 May). The Cancer Moonshot: Commentary. The Lancet Oncology 17: 5 :e178-e180.
  • Finnegan JR (2015 Oct). The Triple Aim: A Prescription for Health Care. Minnesota Healthcare News 13:10; 8.
  • Viswanath, K., Gollust S, Finnegan JR, (2015). Ch 17: 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, 5ed. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, pp. 327-348.
  • Petersen DJ, Finnegan JR Jr, Spencer, HC (2015 Mar) Anticipating change, sparking innovation. Am Journal of Public Health 105 Suppl 1:S46-9.
  • Ablah E, Biberman DA, Weist EM, Buekens P, Bentley M, Burke D, Finnegan JR., Flahault A, Frenk J, Gotsch AR, Klag MJ, Rodriguez Lopez M, Nasca P, Shortell S, and Spencer, HA (2014). Improving global health education: Development of a global health competency model. Am J of Tropical Medicine & Hygiene 90:3, 560.
  • Eisenstein R, Finnegan JR Jr, Curran JW (2014). Contributions of academia to public health preparedness research. Public Health Reports 129 Suppl 4:5-7.
  • Oldenburg NC, Duval S, Luepker RV, Finnegan JR, LaMarre H, Peterson KA, et al. (2014) A 16-Month Community-Based Intervention to Increase Aspirin Use for Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease. Prev Chronic Dis 11:130378.
  • Finnegan JR (2013 Apr). Converging health systems: Reform in progress and educating the next generation of health professionals. Minnesota Physician 27: 1, 20-21;36.