Faculty Profile

Brian J. Zikmund-Fisher, PhD

Brian J. Zikmund-Fisher, PhD

  • Professor of Health Behavior and Health Education
  • Research Associate Professor, Internal Medicine (General Medicine)
  • 3834 SPH I
  • 1415 Washington Heights
  • Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-2029

Dr. Zikmund-Fisher uses his interdisciplinary background in decision psychology and behavioral economics to design and evaluate methods of making health data more intuitively meaningful, to study the impact of people's consistent preferences for more versus less health care on over- and underutilization of care, and to explore the power of narratives in health communications.

Dr. Zikmund-Fisher's past projects have included a multi-year award from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) to develop and test novel ways of displaying laboratory test results in patient portals of electronic health record systems, a National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) award titled the Community Perceptions of Dioxins (CPOD) Study, the National Survey of Medical Decisions (the DECISIONS study) project, an American Cancer Society award regarding the development and testing of visual displays of risk, and several projects examining how patient testimonials influence risk perceptions and decision making.

Dr. Zikmund-Fisher teaches graduate courses that focus on enabling students to communicate health and science information clearly and memorably. He is also working with several collaborators to explore the use of improvisational theater games as tools for building health and science communication skills. Dr. Zikmund-Fisher is an Associate Director of the UM Center for Bioethics and Social Sciences in Medicine (CBSSM) and a core faculty member of the UM Health Informatics program. He is also the incoming Editor-in-Chief (as of January 2021) for the journals Medical Decision Making and Medical Decision Making: Policy & Practice.

  • PhD, Behavioral Decision Theory, Carnegie Mellon University, 2002
  • M.A., Behavioral Decision Making and Economics, Carnegie Mellon University, 1997
  • B.A., Economics (Minor: Psychology), Swarthmore College, 1991

  • Design of health communication messages
  • Medical decision making
  • Risk communication (health, medical, and/or environmental)
  • Graphical methods for communicating risk and other quantitative data
  • Survey research methods (esp. web-based survey experiments)
  • Experimental research
  • Cancer screening decisions
  • Cancer survivorship
  • Communications about genetic test results

  • Society for Medical Decision Making