Michael T. Osterholm PhD, MPH » Faculty

Research Interests:Disease Surveillance, Epidemiology, Health Communications, Health Communications: Social Media, Infectious Disease, Infectious Disease: Food-borne, Infectious Disease: HIV / AIDS, Infectious Disease: Influenza, Infectious Disease: STDs, Policy / Politics, Public Health Preparedness, Vaccines

Regents Professor, Environmental Health Sciences

Address 420 Delaware CIDRAP, MMC 263 Mayo, 8263 Minneapolis MN 55455 Work Phone: 612-626-6770 Website: http://www.cidrap.umn.edu
Photo of Michael T. Osterholm PhD, MPH


Michael Osterholm is an internationally recognized expert in infectious disease epidemiology. He is a member of the National Academy of Science Institute of Medicine. Dr. Osterholm led investigations into infectious disease outbreaks during his 15 years as state epidemiologist at the Minnesota Department of Health. He is the director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy. He served as a special advisor to former D.H.H.S. Secretary Tommy Thompson on issues regarding public health preparedness.

Watch Video: Why Mike Osterholm Does What He Does

  • B.A., Biology and Political Science, Luther College, Decorah, IA, 1975
  • M.S., Environmental Health, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, 1976
  •  M.P.H., Epidemiology, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, 1978
  • Ph.D., Environmental Health, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, 1980


Dr. Osterholm has earned numerous honors for his work. He was recently elected to membership in the prestigious Institute of Medicine (IOM) of the National Academy of Sciences. In October 2014, he received the McKnight Endowed Presidential Chair in Public Health, and in June 2015, the University of Minnesota Regents Professorship. He has also received an honorary doctorate from Luther College; the Pump Handle Award, CSTE; the Charles C. Shepard Science Award, CDC; the Harvey W. Wiley Medal, FDA; the Squibb Award, IDSA; and the Wade Hampton Frost Leadership Award, American Public Health Association. He also has been the recipient of five major research awards from the NIH and the CDC.

Research Interests:

Dr. Osterholm is director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP). He has been a national leader detailing the growing concern regarding the use of biological agents as catastrophic weapons targeting civilian populations. After 9/11, he served as Special Advisor to Secretary Tommy G. Thompson on issues related to bioterrorism and public health preparedness. Dr. Osterholm serves on the editorial boards of five journals. He is a reviewer for 24 additional journals, including the New England Journal of Medicine, the Journal of the American Medical Association, and Science. He served on the CDC’s National Center for Infectious Diseases Board of Scientific Counselors from 1992 to 1997; and is former president of the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE). Dr. Osterholm served for 24 years (1975-1999) in various roles at the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH); the last 15 as state epidemiologist and chief of the Acute Disease Epidemiology Section. He currently serves on the IOM Forum on Emerging Infections. He has served on the IOM Committee on Emerging Microbial Threats to Health in the 21st Century and the IOM Committee on Food Safety, Production to Consumption. He was also a reviewer for the IOM Report on Chemical and Biological Terrorism. As a member of the American Society for Microbiology (ASM), Dr. Osterholm serves on the Public and Scientific Affairs Board (where he chairs the Public Health Committee), the Task Force on Biological Weapons, and the Task Force on Antibiotic Resistance. He is a frequent consultant to the World Health Organization (WHO), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Department of Defense, and the CDC. He is a fellow of the American College of Epidemiology and the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA).

Selected Publications:

Dr. Osterholm is the author of more than 300 papers and abstracts, including 20 book chapters.