Photo of Brian Zikmund-Fisher

Brian Zikmund-Fisher

Associate Professor of Health Behavior and Health Education, School of Public Health
Research Associate Professor, Internal Medicine, Medical School
(734) 936-9179

Biography

Dr. Brian J. Zikmund-Fisher is an associate professor in the Department of Health Behavior and Health Education, University of Michigan School of Public Health and a research associate professor in the U-M Department of Internal Medicine. Dr. Zikmund-Fisher also directs the Internet Survey Lab at the U-M Center for Bioethics and Social Sciences in Medicine (CBSSM), is a core faculty member of the U-M Risk Science Center and the Health Informatics program, and is affiliated with the U-M Center for Health Communications Research and the Ann Arbor VAMC HSR&D Center for Clinical Management Research.

Dr. Zikmund-Fisher received his PhD in behavioral decision theory (a combination of decision psychology and behavioral economics) from Carnegie Mellon University. He uses this background to study factors that affect individuals’ ability to use data to inform their health and medical decision-making. In particular, he seeks to develop optimal methods for transforming health data into meaningful information for end users, whether patients, clinicians, or health officials. An author of more than 75 articles and book chapters, Dr. Zikmund-Fisher also serves as an associate editor for the journal Medical Decision Making and teaches graduate courses in risk communication and designing health messages.

Courses

HEBHED 661 Designing Sticky Communications for Health Advocacy, Education, and Mass Media

HEBHED 662 Risk Communication: Theory, Techniques, and Applications in Health

Research Interests

Dr. Zikmund-Fisher uses his interdisciplinary background in decision psychology and behavioral economics to study factors that affect individual decision-making about a variety of health and medical issues, with a particular emphasis on health and environmental risk perceptions and the effects of poor numeracy (people's ability to interpret quantitative information) on health and medical decision making. His research in health communications focuses on designing visual displays and contextual cues to make risk statistics, test results, and other types of quantitative health information meaningful and useful for decision making by patients and the public.

Some of his past projects have included the National Survey of Medical Decisions (often called the DECISIONS Study), an NIEHS-funded grant studying perceptions of risk from dioxin exposure within affected communities, an American Cancer Society award regarding the development and testing of visual displays of risk, and several small projects examining how patient testimonials influence risk perceptions and decision-making. He is currently the principal investigator of a newly-awarded, multi-year grant from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) to design more intuitively meaningful displays of laboratory test results for use in patient online portals.

Education

Dr. Zikmund-Fisher received a PhD in behavioral decision theory from Carnegie Mellon University. He has a master’s degree in behavioral decision making and economics from Carnegie Mellon University and a bachelor’s degree in economics from Swarthmore College.