University of Michigan

Director's welcome


I am honored to be able to serve in the position of Director of the Health Management Research Center and to join the faculty of the School of Kinesiology at the University of Michigan.

My connection to Michigan and the Center began decades ago.  Like most professionals in the health promotion field, my first lessons and many of my ongoing discoveries on the links between health practices, health status, medical costs and productivity came from the work of the Health Management Research Center (previously called the Fitness Research Center).  When I started the American Journal of Health Promotion, Dr. Dee Edington, founder of the Center, was one of the first people I contacted to invite to serve as an editor.  Dee later served as a member of my PhD dissertation committee when I earned my PhD at Michigan and for five years, we taught a class in Health Promotion in the Workplace in at University of Michigan.  It is very exciting to be able to build on the foundation Dee and his team at the Center established.

I have always admired the ability of the Center to serve, learn and share at the same time.  The Center has helped more than 1000 employers, including a core group of long-time corporate consortium members, develop excellent health promotion programs and measure the impact these programs on health, medical costs and productivity through a core set of services, articulated concepts that have guided the evolution of our field and continues to share everything it learns in the scientific literature.

Our research agenda continues to evolve based on the needs of our clients, developments in the field and the inquisitive minds of our team. Some of the key questions we are addressing are now listed below.

What is the value of a healthy and productive culture to an individual, a family, a company, a community, a state and a nation?

How can we create and how do we maintain this state of health and productivity within cost-effective parameters?

What is the relative total value of lifestyle, cultural, medical and pharmaceutical interventions?

I look forward to working with employers, health plans, communities and health promotion providers to improve the health of the people of the world, and at the same time, reduce the cost of disease and enhance the productivity of all organizations.


Michael P. O’Donnell, PhD, MBA, MPH
Director, Health Management Research Center
Clinical Professor, School of Kinesiology